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Full text of "The history of English poetry, from the close of the eleventh century to the commencement of the eighteenth century. To which are prefixed, three dissertations: 1. Of the origin of romantic fiction in Europe. 2. On the introduction of learning into England. 3. On the Gesta Romanorum"

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Section VI. Page 
Adam Davie flourished In the heginning of the fourteenth centuiy. Spe- 
cimens of his poetry. His Life of Alexander. Robert Baston's comedies. 
Anecdotes of the early periods of the English, French, and Italian 
drama I 

Section VII. 
Character of the Reign of Edward the Third. Hompole's Pricke of Con- 
science • • 32 

Section VIII. 

Pierce Plowman's Vision. Antient State and original Institution of Fairs. ' 

Donat explained. Antichrist 44 

Note A. by Mr. Price on the Vision of Pierce Plowman 60 

Appendix by Mr. Price on the Text of Pierce Plowman 62 

Section IX. 
Pierce the Plowman's Crede. Constitution and character of the four orders 
of mendicant friars. WicUftTe 87 

Section X. 
Various specimens of alliterative poetry. Antient alHterative Hymn to 
the Vi^in Mary 103 

Section XI. 
John Barbour's Histoiy of Robert Bruce, and Blind Harry's Sir William 
Wallace. Historical romances of recent events commence about the 
close of the fourteenth century. Cliiefly composed by heralds. Cha- 
racter and business of antient heralds. Narratives written by them. 
Froissart's History. His life and character. Retrospective views of 
manners 110 

Section XIL 
General view of the character of Chaucer. Boccado's Teseide. A Greek 
poem on that subject. Tournaments at Constantinople. Common 
practice of the Greek exiles to translate the popular Italian poems. 
Specimens both of the Greek and Italian Theseid. Critical examina- 
tion of the Knight's Tale 127 


Section XIII. Page 
Hie subject of Chaucer continued. His Romaunt of the Rose. William 
of Lorris and John of Meun. Specimens of the French Le Roman de 
la Rose. Improved by Chaucer. William of Lorris excels in allegorical 
personages. Petrarch dislikes this poem 149 

Section XIV. 
Chaucer continued. His Troilus and Cresseide. Boccacio's Troilo. Sen- 
timental and pathetic strokes in Chaucer's poem. House of Fame. A 
Piovencial composition. Analysed. Improperly imitated by Pope ... 161 

Section XV. 
Chaucer continued. The supposed occasion of his Canterbury Tales supe- 
rior to that of Boccacio's Decameron. Squire's Tale, Chaucer's capital - 
poem. Origin of its fictions. Story of Patient Grisilde. Its origin, 
popularity, and characteristic excellence. How conducted by Chaucer. 170 

Section XVI. 
Chaucer continued. Tale of the Nun's Priest. Its Origin and Allusions. 
January and May. Its Imitations. Licentiousness of Boccacio. Miller's 
Tale. Its singular Humour and Ridiculous Characters. Other Tales 
of the Comic Species. Their Origin, Allusions, and Respective Merits. 
Rime of Sir Thopas. Its Design and Tendency ^ 186 

Section XVIL 
Chaucer contumed. General view of the Prologues to the Canterbury 
Tales. The Prioresse. The Wife of Bath. The Frankelein. The 
Doctor of Physicke. State of medical erudition and practice. Medi- 
cine and astronomy blended. Chaucer's physician's library. Learning 
of the Spanish Jews. The Sompnour. The Pardonere. The Monke. 
Qualifications of an abbot. The Frere. The Parsoune. The Squire. 
English Crusades into Lithuania. The Reve.^ The Clarke of Oxenford. 
The Serjeaunt of Lawe. The Hoste. Supplemental Tale, or History 
ofBeiyn. Analysed and examined 199 

Section XVIII. 
Chaucer continued. State of French and Italian Poetry; and their in- 
fluence on Chaucer. Rise of Allegorical Composition in the Dark 
Ages. Love-courts, and Love-fraternities, in France. Tales of the 
Troubadours. Dolopathos. Boccacio, Dante* and Petrarch. Decline 
of Provencial Poetry* Succeeded in France by a new species. FroissarL 
The Floure and the Leafe. Floral Games in France. Allegorical 
Beings 215 

Section XIX. 
John Gower. His character and poems. I^is tomb. His Confessio 
Amantis. Its subject and plan. An unsuccessful imitation of the Ro- 
man de la Rose. Aristotle's Secretum Secretorum. Chronicles of the 
middle ages. Colonna. Romance of Lancelot. The Gesta Roma- 
norum. Shakspeare's caskets. Authors quoted by Gower. Chronology 
of some of Gower's and Chaucer's poems. The Confessio Amantis 
preceded the Canterbury Tales. Estimate of Gower's genius 225 


Section XX. Page 
Boethius. Why, and how much, esteemed in the middle ages. Trans- 
lated hy Johannes Capellanus, the only poet of the reign of king Heniy 
the Fourth. Numher of harpers at the coronation feast of Henry the 
Fifth. A minstrel-piece on the Battayle of Agynkourte. Occleve. 
His poems. Egidius de Regimine Principum, and Jacobus of Casali De 
Ludo Scaccorum. Chaucer's picture. Humphrey duke of Gloucester. 
Sketch of his character as a patron of literature. Apology for the Gal- 
licisms of Chaucer, Gower^ and Occleve • 254 

Section XXL 
Reign of Henry the Sixth. Lydgate. His life and character. His Dance 
of Death. Macaber a German poet. Lydgate 's poem in honour of Saint 
Edmund. Presented to Henry the Sixth, at Bury-abbey, in a most 
splendid manuscript, now remaining. His Lyf of our Lady. Elegance 
and harmony of his style and versification 269 

Section XXIL 
Lydgate continued. His Fall of Princes, from Laurence Premierfait's 
French paraphrase of Boccace on the same subject. Nature, plan, and 
specimens of that poem. Its sublime allegorical figure of Fortune. 
Authors cited in the same. Boccace 's opportunities of collecting many 
stories of Greek original, now not extant in any Greek writer. Lydgate's 
Storie of Thebes. An additional Canterbury Tale. Its plan, and ori- 
ginals. Martianus Capella. Happily imitated by Lydgate. Feudal 
manners applied to Greece. ^Specimen of Lydgate's force in descrip- 
tion 277 

Section XXIII. 
Lydgate's Troy-Boke. A paraphrase of Colonna's Historia Trojana. 
Homer, when and how first known in Europe. Lydgate's powers in 
rural painting. Dares and Dictys. Feudal manners, and Arabian image- 
ry engrafted on the Trojan story. Anecdotes of ancient Gothic archi- 
tecture displayed in the structure of Troy. An ideal theatre at Troy 
so described as to prove that no regular stage now existed. Game of 
chess invented at the siege of Troy. Lydgate's gallantry. His ana- 
chronisms. Hector's shrine and chantry. Specimens of another Troy- 
Boke, anonymous, and written in the reign of Henry the Sixth 291 

Section XXIV. 

Reign of Henry the Sixth continued. Hugh Campeden translates the 
French romance of Sidrac. Thomas Chestre's Sir LaunfiJe. Metrical 
romance of the Erie of Tholouse. Analysis of its fable. Minstrels paid 
better than the clergy. Reign of Edward the Fourth. Translation of 
the classics and other books into French. How it operated on English 
literature. Caxton. Anecdotes of English typography 305 

Note A. by Mr. Price on the Lays of Britany ...• 323 

Section XXV. 
Harding's Chronicle. First mention of the king's Poet Laureate occurs 
in the reign of Edward the Fourth. History of that office. Scogan. 
Didactic poems on chemistry by Norton and Ripley • 328 


Section XXVI. Page 

Poems under the name of Thomas Rowlie. Supposed to he spurious ... 338 

Section XXVII. 
The reigns of Richard the Third and Heniy the Seventh ahound in oh- 
scure versifiers. Bertram Walton. Benedict Burgh translates Cato*8 
Latin Distichs. History of that work. Julian Barnes. Ahhesses fond 
of hunting and hawking. A religious poem hy William of Nassyngton. 
His Prologue explained. Minstrels and Gestours to be distinguished. 
Gest of the Three Kings of Cologne, sung in the arched chamher of the 
Prior at Winchester. The Gest of the Seven Sleepers. Originally a 
Greek Legend. Bradshaw's Life of Saint Werburgh. Metrical chro- 
nicles of the Kings of England fashionable in this century. Ralph 
Higden proved to be the author of the Chester plays. Specimen of 
Bradshaw's poem, from his description of the historical tapestiy in the 
hall of Ely monastery, when the Princess Werburgh was admitted to the 
veil. Legends and legend-makers. Fabyan. Watson. Caxton, a 
poet. Kalendar of Shepherds. Pageaunts. Transition to the Drama. 
Histrionic profession. Mysteries. Nicodemus's Gospel. Use of My- 
steries 360 

Section XXVIII. 
Reign of Henry the Seventh. Hawes. His poems. Painting on the 
walls of chambers. Visions. Hawes's Pastyle of Pleasure. The fable 
analysed. Walter. Medwall. Wade 397 

Section XXIX. 
Bark]ay*s Ship of Fools. Its origin. Specimens. Barklay's Eclogues, 

and other pieces. Alcock, bishop of Ely. Modem Bucolics 419 

Section XXX. 
Digression to the Scotch poets. William Dunbar. His Thistle and Rose, 
and Golden Terge. Specimens. Dunbar's comic pieces. Estimate of 
his genius. Moralities fashionable among the Scotch in the fifteenth 
century r • 433 

Section XXXI. 
Scotch poets continued. Gawen Douglass. His translation of the Eneid. 
His genius for descriptive poetry. His Palice of Honour, and other 
pieces .• 449 

Section XXXII. 
Scotch poets continued. Sir David Lyndesay. His chief p^ormanoes 
the Dreme and Monarchic. His talents for description and imagery. 
His other poems examined. An anonymous Scotch poem, never 
printed, called Duncane Laider. Its humour and satire. Feudal 
robbers. Blind Harry reconsidered. A History of the Scotch poetry 
recommended „.,„ •«.,.,„ 459 


Section XXXIII. Page 
Skelton. Hia Life. Patronized by Henry, fifth earl of Northumberland. 
His character, and peculiarity of style. Critical examination of his 
poems. Macaronic poetry. Skelton's Morality called the Nigra- 
manslr. Moralities at their height about the cloee of the Seventh 
Henry's reign 489 

Section XXXIV. 
A Digression on the Origin of Mysteries. Various Origins assigned. 
Religious Dramas at Constantinople. Plays first acted in the Mona- 
steries. This Ecclesiastical Origin of the Drama gives rise to the prac- 
tice of performing Plays in Universities, Colleges, and Schools. In- 
fluence of this practice on the vernacular Drama. On the same prin- 
ciple, Plays acted by Singing^boys in Choirs. Boy-bishop. F6te de 
Fouz. On the same principle, Plays acted by the Company of Parish 
Clerks. By the Law Societies in London. Temple Masques 5H 

Section XXXV. 
Causes of the increase of Vernacular Composition in the fifteenth century. n 
View of the Revival of Classical Learning. In Italy. In France. In 
Germany. In Spain. In England 544 





Adam Davie fimrished in the beginning ofthefottrteenth century. Spe- 
cimens of his poetry. His Life of Alexander. Robert Boston^ s comedies. 
Anecdotes of the early periods of the English^ French^ and Italian 

Although much poetry began to be written about the reign of Ed- 
ward the Second, yet I have found only one English poet of that reign 
wboee name has descended to posterity*. This is Adam Davy or 
Davie. He may be placed about the year 1312. I can collect no cir- 
cumstances of his life, but that he was marshall of Stratford-le-bow near 
London^. He has left several poems never printed, which are almost 
as forgotten as his name. Only one manuscript of these pieces now 
remains, which seems to be coeval with its author*'. They are Visions, 
The Battell of Jerusalem^ The Legend of Saii^t Alexius, 
Scripture Histories, of fifteen Toknes before the Day of 
Judgement, Lamentations of Souls, and The Life of Alex- 

In the Visions, which are of the religious kind, Adam Davie draws 
this picture of Edward the Second standing before the shrine of Ed- 

* Robert de Brunne, above mentioned, ^ This will appear from citations which 

lived, and perhaps wrote some of his follow. 

pieces, in thu reign; but he more pro- ^ MS8. Bibl. BodL Laud. I 74. [622.] 

perly belongs to the last. [Warton need fol. membran. It has been much damaged, 

not have written perhaps, since he might and on that account is often illegible, 
luve ceen in Heame's edition of de ^ In the manuscript there is also a piece 

Bninne's Chronicle that it was not finish- in prose, entitled, The Pylgiymages of the 

ed till 1338. The author should certainly hoU land, £ 65 — 66. It begins: <'Qwerr 

be placed in Edward the Second's reign, soever a cros gtandyth ther is afor^venes 

•Ithough it is true that he began tn com- of payne." I think it is a description of 

pwse his Manuel des Pichii in 1302. the holy places, and it appears at least to 

— M.] be of the hand- writing of the rest. 




ward the Confessor in Westminster abbey at his coronation. The lines 
have a strength arising from simplicity. 

To our Lorde Jeshu Crist in heven 

Iche to day shawe myne sweven*, 

That iche mette' in one nycht, 

Of a knycht of mychel mycht : 

His name is yhote' syr Edward the kyng, 

Prince of Wales Engelonde the fair thynge ; 

Me mett that he was armid wele, 

Bothe with yme and with stele, 

And on his helme that was of stel, 

A coroune of gold bicom him wel. 

Bifore the shrine of Seint Edward he stood, 

Myd glad chere and myld of mood ^. 

Most of these Visions are compliments to the king. Our poet then pro- 
ceeds thus : 

Another suevene me mette on a twefnit' - 

Bifore the fest of Alhalewen of that ilke kni^t. 

His name is nempned*^ hure bifore, 

Blissed be the time that he was bore, Ac 

Of Syr Edward oure derworth' kyng 

Iche mette of him anothere faire metyng, &c. 

Me thought he rood upon an asse. 

And that ich take God to witnesse ; 

Ywonden he was in a mantell gray, 

Toward Rome he nom° his way, 

Upon his hevede sate a gray hure. 

It semed him wel a mesure ; 

He rood withouten hose and sho. 

His wone was nougth so for to do ; 

His shankes semeden al bloodrede^ 

Myne herte wop° for grete drede ; 

As a pylgrym he rood to Rome, 

And thider he com wel swithe sone. 

The thrid suevene me mette a ni^t 

Ri^t of that derworth knight : 

The Wednysday a nicht it was 

Next the dai of seint Lucie bifore Christenmasse, &c* 

Me thougth that ich was at Rome, 

And thider iche come swithe sone, 

• dream. 

< named. 

>» foL 27. 

f dreamed. In the first sense, we have 

^ twelfth-night 

^ named. 

me mette in Chaucer, Noii. Pr. T. v. 1013. 

* dear-worthy. 


Urr. And below. 

" wept. 


The pope and syr Edward our kyng 
Bothe hj^ hadden a newe dubbyng, &c« 
Thus Crist fill of grace 
Graonte our kyng in every place 
Maistrie of his witherwines 
And of al wieked Sarasynes. 
Me mette a swevene one wortfaig^ a ni^th 
Of that ilche derworthi knijth, 
God iche it ^ewe and to witnesse take 
And so shilde me fro, && 
Into a chapel I cum of vre lefdy % 
Jhe Crist her leve' son stod by. 
On rod* he was an lovdiche mon, 
Als thilk that on rode was don 
He unneled* his honden two, &c. 
Adam the marchal of Straitfard atte Bawe 
Wei swithe wide his name is iknowe 
He himself mette this metyng, 
To witnesse he taketh Jhesu hevene kynge, 
On wedenyesday" in clene leinte*' 
A Toice me bede I ne shulde nou^ feinte. 
Of the suevenes tiiat her ben write 
I shulde swithe don* my lord kyng to wite. 
The thursday next the beryng^ of our lefdy 
Me thoujth an aungel com syr Edward by, &c. 
Iche tell you forsoth withoutten les", 
Ak God of hevene maide Marie to moder ches% 
The aungell com to me Adam Davie and seide 
Bot thou Adam shewe this thee worthe wel yvel mede, &c. 
. Whoso wil speke myd me Adam the marchal 
In Stretforde Jiowe he is yknown and over al, 
Iche ne schewe nou^t this for to have mede 
Bot for God almi^tties drede. 

There is a very old prose romance, both in French and Italian, on 
the subject of the Desimciion qfJerusalem\ It is translated from a 

** they. ^ In an antienC inventory of boolu, all 

' waryt^ Grig, [on worthing ny th. Park» French ronuuces, made in England in the 

CoIL] reign of Edward the Third, I find the ro- 

^ lady. ' dear. mance of Titaa and Veapadan. Madox, 

* croes. * nnnailed. Formul. Anglican, p. 12. See also Scipio 

* Wodenis day. Woden'i day. Wed- Maffei's Traduttori Italiani, p. 48. Cre- 
ne»day» icimbeni (Volg. Foes, vol i. 1. 5. p. 317.) 

* Lent. does not seem to have known of this ro- 
' make haste. [Swithe don to wite, mance in Italian. Du Cange mentions Le 

qmckly let him know, — ^RiTSON.] Roman de la Prise de Jertualem par Titus, 

^ Christmas-day. inverse. Gloss. LaCi. Ind. Auct. p. cxciv. 

* lies. A metrical romance on this subject is in 

* *' As sure as God chose the Virgin the royal manuscripts. 16 E. viii. 2. Brit. 
Mary to be Christ's mother." Mus. [The romance here referred to, re- 

, b2 

4 ADAM DAVIE. [s£CT. \h 

Latin work, in five books, very popular in the middle ages, entitled, 
Hegesippi de Bello Judaieo et JSxcidio Urbis HierosohfrnitafUB Libri 
guinque. This is a licentious paraphrase of a part of Josephus's Jew- 
ish history, made about the fourth century t and the name Hegesippus 
is most probably corrupted from Joseph us, perhaps also called Josip- 
pus. The paraphnust is supposed to be Ambrose of Milan, who flou- 
rished in the reign of Theodosius^. On the subject of Vespasian's 
siege of Jerusalem, as related in this book, our poet Adam Davie has 
left a poem entitled the Battell of Jerusalem*^. It begins thus: 

Listeneth all that beth alyv e, 
Both cristen men and wy ve : 
I wil you tel a wonder cas, 
How Jhesu Crist bihated was, 
Of the Jewes felle and kene. 
That was on him sithe ysene, 
Gospelles I drawe to witnesse 
Of this mater more and lesse, &c.^ 

In the course of the story, Pilate challenges our Lord to single com- 
bat. This subject will occur again. 

^Davie's Legend of saikt Alexius the confessor, son of Eu- 
PHEMius, is translated from Latin, and begins thus : 

All that willen here in ryme, 
Howe gode men in olde tyme, 

Loveden God almi^th ; 
That weren riche, of grete valoure, 
Kynges sones and emperoure 

Of bodies strong and li^th ; 
3ee habbeth yherde oftein geste. 
Of holi men maken feste 

Both day and nigth, 

lates to the fabulous expedition of Charle- of Ooddes Death, viz. f. 22 b. This 
mngne to Jenisalem, and has been printed latter part be^ns with these lines: 
with illustrative notes by M. Fr. Michel, * ' . „. ^i,^ iu.,«*„ j«„*„ «.^j« 

12mo. Lond. 1830: See vol. i. p. 128.- wwA?? wMnM^Vrl ^.nH. 

-, T -,. . J „ , , "^ ... Wbider I wolde he bade me wende, 

M.] There « an old French play on th« Upon the mount of rtyvete, &c 

Bukject, acted in 1437. It was printed '^ ^ * 

in 1491. fol. M. Beauchainp8,.Rech. Fr. [This is probably the same as ** LaVen- 

Theat p. 1 34. gance etDcstruction de Ihenisalem par per- 

* He mentions Constantinople and New sonages execute par Vespaaien et son fils 

Rome ; and the provinces of Scotia and Titus, contenaat en soy plusieurs chro- 

Saxonia. From this work the Maccabees nicques Rommaines tant du regne de Neron 

seem to have got into romance. It was Empereur que de plusieurs aultres belles 

first printed at Paris, fol. 1511. Among hystoires." Printed at Paris, 1510. 4 to. 

the Bodleian manuscripts there is a most for Johan Trepperel. "The Dystniccion 

beautiful copy of this book, believed to be of Iherusalem, by Vaapasian and Tytua," 

written in the Saxon times. was twice printed by W. de Worde, and 

' The latter part of this poem appears once by Pynson. See Herbert's Ames, 

detached, in a former part of our manu- pp. 177, 220, 294. — Douce.] 
script, with the title The Venoeaunce ' MS. ut supr. f. 72 b. 


For to have the joye in hevene 
(With aungells song, and merry stevene,) 
. The which is brode and bri^th : 
To you all hei^e and lowe 
The ri^th Bothe to biknowe 
)our soules for to save, &cJ 

Our author's scripture histories want the beginning. Here they 
begin with Joseph, and end with DanieL 

For thritti pens^ thei sold that childe 

The seller hijth Judas, 
Itho^ Ruben com horn* and myssed hym 

Sori ynoug he was.^ 

His fifteen tokmes^ before the DAT OF JUDGMENT, are taken 
from the prophet Jeremiah. • 

The first signe thar ageins, as our lord hymselfe sede, 
Hungere schal on erthe be, trecherie, and falshede, 
Batteles, and Httell love, sekenesse and haterede. 
And the erthe schal quaken that vche man schal ydrede : 
The mone schal tume to blood, the sunne to derkhede, &c} 

Another of Davie's poems may be called the Lamentation of 
Souls. But the subject is properly a congratulation of Chrisfs ad- 
vent, and the lamentation, of the souls of the fathers remaining in 
limbo, for his delay. 

Off joye and blisse is my song careth to bileve"*. 

And to here hym among that al our sorou^ shal reve, 

Ycome he is that swete dewe, that swete hony drope, 

The kyng of alle kynges to whom is al our hope : 

Becom he is our brother, whar was he so long ? 

He it is and no other, that bou^th us so strong : 

Our brother we mowe° hym clepe wel, so seith hymself ilome®. 

' MS. ut supr. C 22-72 b. of "ylome" in the Glossary to his Me- 

' thirty pence. ^ I]k>. Orig. trical Romances, or at any rate have ob- 

* MS. ut supr. f. 66-72 b. tained a closer approximation to the true 
^ tokens. ' MS. ut supr. C 7 1 b. meaning than his own knowledge supplied 
"* leave. " may. him with. 

• sometimes. MS. ut supr. f. 72. [By „^ . . u^. - .|, „f„«^. • 
anerrorof the press in the former edidon' ^" **"? **^ ^"""^^ y*^' 

the reference to the note was affixed to which the Glossator renders lateljf. It b 
the word <*wel ;" and though Warton in tlie Anglo-Saxon ge-lome, ssepe, frequen- 
hu AdditioDS had pointed out the mistake, ter, contimUter. In the Chronicle of En- 
yet the candour of Mr. Ritson fastened on gland we have, 

this gentleman have condescended to be where "ofte" appears to be a gloss which 

just, or to confide in an interpretation has found its way into the text "Oft and 

furnished him by Warton, he might have gelome*' is the language of Csedmon.^ 

avoided the erroneous explanation given Price.] ] , ^ 


My readers will be perhaps snrprked to find Our language improve 
so slowly, and will probably think, that Adam Davie writes in a less in- 
telligible phrase tlMui many more antient bards already cited*. His 
obscurity, however, arises in great measure from obsolete spelling, a 
mark of antiquity which I have here observed in exact conformity to 
a manuscript of the age of Edward the Second ; and which in the poetry 
of his predecessors, especially the minstrel-pieces, has been often effaced 
by multiplication of copies, and other causes. In the mean time it 
should be remarked, that the capricious peculiarities and even ignorance 
of transcribers, often occasion an obscurity, which is not to be imputed 
either to the author or his age ^ 

But Davie's capital poem is the Life of Alsxardbb, which de- 
serves to be published entire on many accounts. It seems to be founded 
chiefly on Simeon Seth's romance above mentioned; but many passages 
are also copied from the French Roman d'Alexandre, a poem in our 
author's age perhaps equally popular both in England and France^ It 
is a work of considerable length'. I will first give some extracts from 
the Prologue. 

Divers is this myddel erde 

To lewed men and to lerid', &c. 

Notheles, ful feole and fiUe 

Booth y-founde in heorte and wille 

That hadde levere a ribaudye 

Than to here of God, other of seynte Marie ; 

* [Mr. Campbell has observed upon this tions ** the grete diversite in English, and 

passage: *' Warton antidpates the surprise in writing of our tongue" He therefore 

of his reader in finding the English Ian- prays God, that no person would miswrite, 

guage improve so slowly when we reach or misse-metre his poem. lib. nit ▼. 1792. 

the verses of Davie. The historian of our seq. 

poetry had in a former section treated of ' [In attributing this romance to Davie, 
Robert De Brunne as a writer anterior to Warton has followed the authority of Tan- 
Davie; but as the latter part of DeBrunne's ner, who was probably led into the mis- 
Chronicle was not finished till 1339, in the take by finding it bound up with the re- 
reign of Edward III., it would be surpri- maining worlcs of this ** poetic marshalL" 
zing indeed if the language should seem We are indebted to Mr. Ellis for detecting 
to improve when we go back to the reign — ^npon the force of internal evidence — 
of Edward II." Essay on English Poetry, this misappropriation of a very spirited 
p. 57. — In this the usual accuracy and can- composition to the insipid author of the 
dour of Mr. Campbell appear to have for- Legend of Saint Alexius. It has since 
s&ke^ him. The observation in the text been published from a transcript of the 
is far from being a general one, and might Lincoln's-Inn MS. made by Mr. Park, 
have been interpreted to the exclusion and forms the first volume in Mr. Weber's 
of De Brunne. That such was Warton's. collection. In deference to the opinions 
intention is obvious from note ', p. 1, of these gentlemen — opinions sanctioned 
where he speaks of De Brunne as living, as it would seem by the approbation of 
and probably composing some of his pieces, Mr. Douce and Mr. Ellis — the text has 
during the reign of Edward II. A date been suppUed from the printed copy, 
(1303) recorded in his translation of the though the Editor's private judgment is 
Manuel de Picket, was the cause of his decidedly in fiivour of the Bodleian ver- 
being classed among the writers of the sion. — Price.] 
preceding reign. — Price.] • Leg. lerd. learned. 

^ Chaucer in Troilus Ihd Cressida men- 


Other to drynke a coppe ful of ale. 

Than to here ooy god tale: 

Soehe Y wolde were oute-bbhett; 

For sikerliehe, hit weore nede* 

For they no haveth no joye» y wot wele 

Bote in the gutte and the barell.^ 

Adam Davie thus describes a splendid procession made by Olym- 

In this tyme faire and jolif" 

Olimpiasy that faire wif, 

Wolde make a riche feste 

Of knightis and ladies honeste. 

Of burgeys and of jugoleris 

And of men of eche mesteris^ 

For mon seith by north and south 

Wimmen beth» ever selcouth ; 

Muche they desirith to schewe heore body 

Heore faire heir, heore fair rody. 

To have loe^ and praisyng: 

Al hit is folic by hevene kyngi 

So dude dame Olimpias 

To schewe hire gentil face. ' 

Scheo hette marchal, and knyghtis 

Greythen heom to ryde anon ryghtis. 

And ladies and demoselis 

Maken heom redy, a thousand deUs, 

In faire atire, in divers coyntise 

Monye ther jiden in riche wise. 

A muylC) al so whit as mylk 

With sadel of gold, semely of selk 

Was y-brought to Uieo queue 

With mony bellis of selver schene 

Y-fastened on orfreys' of mounde 

That hongen adoun to theo grounde. 

Forth thei ferden' with heore roite 

A thousand ladies of o swte* * 

A speruer' that was honeste 

So was at theo ladies feste : 

*■ The work begiiu thna: Alisaunder! me reowitfa thyn endyng 

Wbflem clcrkes wel ylerid That thou n'adett dyghed In cristenyng. 
Faire y-dyght this myddel crde^ - J*i"y* ^ ^ . 

And depid hit in here mabtric, ^^ ««*' <>' ^^^'T. jprofession, trade, 

Europe, AffVyke, and A«yghc: "^^ u -^ ^ ^ PfT^* . .. 
At Asyghc al so muchul ys . embroidered Work, doth of gold. 

As Europe, and AffVyk, I wis, &c. ^urtfrtgtum, Lat 

And enda with this distich : * sparrow-hawk ; a hawk. 


Four trumpes to-fore* hire bleow 
Mony man that day hire kneow : . 
An hundred and wel mo 
AUe abowed hire to. 
Al thes toun y-honged was^ 
Ageynes* theo lady Olimpias.^ 
Orglesy tymbres, al maner gleo* 
Was dryuen ageyn that lady freo. 
Withoute theo toun was mury: 
Was reised ther al maner pley'; 
There was knyghtis tumyng 
There was maidenes carolying 
There was champions skyrmyng^, 
Of heom and of other wrastlyng 
Of liouns chas, of beore baityng 
And bay of bor^ of bole slaty ng^ 
Al theo city was by-hong 
Of riche baudekyns and pellis^ among 
Dame Olimpias among this pres^ 
Sengle rod"', al mantul-le& — 
Hire yolowe heir"? was fair atyred 
With ryche strynges of gold wyred 
And wryen hire abouten al® 
To hire gentil myddel smal 
Bryght and faur was hire faoev 
Uche maner faired^ in hire was'. 

• before. " k skins. * crowd; company. 
^ "hung with tapestry." We find this "^ rode single. 

ceremony practised at the entrance of lady " yellow hair. 

Elisabeth, queen of Henry the Seventh, ^ *< covered her all over." 

into the city of London.—" Al the streta ' line 155. ^ beauty, 

ther whiche she shulde passe by werclenly ' John Gower, who lived an hundred 

dressed and besene with cloth, of tappes- years after our author, has described the 

trye and arras, and some streetes as Chepe, same procession. Confess. Amant. lib. vi. 

hanged with riche clothes of golde, vel- fol. 137 a. b. edit Berthel. 1554. 

▼ettes and silkes." This was in the year ^. . .,, ..^ .,^ ^.. 

1481. Leland. Coll. iv. Opuscul. p. 220. Sv* *° **' "^ ?*Ji7". 

edit 1770. ^ ^ The queue, wh,che Olimpias 

c «i .»•:».* k*« -..«.:«- »» Was bote, and with solempnitee 

* sA^S^dX^^f the .,u™«n.„t L'ltt^f wi tSSf ^d. 
in Chaucer, Knight's Tale, where the city ^ "/^^jS'' 7" l^ ^A. 
..^hanged with* of goli v; 2570^ ^ J-^^r .Tthi So^^lut, 

-•"org.™. U^breU. ... n^ner of If^^Jlli^opl^'r""'' 

music' . , J. 

f ti .ir.^.^. «r ..^^, »» Anon al men were redie ; 

i .«l^taf '^ And that wa. In the n«.nth of M».. 

- •' baying o" bayting of the boar." S™ ^"f^^ <«"*"« "" f^'u"^"' 

' «fay4[baitingi--M?]i«/b.bull-fea»t.. JT" '«"? "P°» « ■""'« .''^.'' ' 


Much in the same strain tlie marriage of Cleopatncs is described* 

Tho this message was horn y-come 
Ther was mony blithe gome 
With rose and swete floree 
Was strawed halles and bouris ; 
With samytes and baudekyns 
Weore cortined the gardynes. 
AUe the innes of the toun 
Haddyn litel foisoun*> 
That day cam Clorpatras ; 
So mucle people with hire was. 
Upon a rnule^ whyt so mylk ; ** 
Hire hameys gold beten with selk. 
The prynce hire ladde of Sandas, 
And of Cydoyne sire Jonatas, 
Ten thousand barouns hire come myde, 
And to chirche they ryden. 
Spoused scheo is and set on deys : 
Now ginnith the geste of nobl^: 
At theo feste was trumpyng, 
Pipyng and eke taboryng, * 
Sytolyng and ek harpy ng^ 

We have frequent opportunities of observing, how the poets of these 
times engraft the manners of chivalry on antient classical history. In 
the following lines Alexander's education is like that of Sir Tristram. 
He is taught tilting, hunting, and hawking. 

Now con Alisaundre of skyrmyng, 

And of stedes disrayng, 

And of sweordis tumyng, 

Apon stede, apon justyng, 

And sailyng, of defendyng 

In grene wode of huntyng 

And of reveryng and of haukyng^ : 

Of batail and of al thyng. 

The noble towne was al behonged; An so couth every other man 

And everie wight was son alonged Which play with, his play began, 

To see this lustie ladie ryde. To please with this noble queen. 

There was great mirth on al syde, Gower continues this story, from a ro- 

Wben as she passed by the streate mance mentioned above, to fol. 140. 

There was lul many a tymbre beate, ■ provision. * line 1023. 

And many a maide carolende. * Chaucer, R. of Sir Thop. v. 3^45. 

And thus throughout the town plaieode Urry's edit p. 145. 

This quene unto the plaicnc rode He couth hunt al the wild dere, 

Whar that she hoved and abode ^^ ^ ride an hawkyng by the Hvtre. 

?L1 l!I*7S'^" f^'l\ And in the Squyr of Low Degree, supr. 

The lustie folke just and tornaye. dtat p 179 


In another place Alexander is mounted on a steed of Narbone* ; and 
amid the solemnities of a great feast, rides through the hall to the high 
table. This was no unconmion practice in the ages of chivalry^. 

He leop up, and hadde soon doon, 
Apon a stede of faire bon ; (Narabone) 
He rod forth upon the lond 
Theo riche croune in his bond, 
Of Nicholas that he wan : 
Byside rideth a gentil man. 
To the paleis they gonne ride 
And fond this feste in all pruyde 
Forth goth Alisaundre, saun fable 
Ryght to theo heygh table ^. 

His horse Bucephalus, who even in classical fiction is a horse of ro- 
mance, is thus described : 

An horn the forhed amydward 
That wolde perce scheldis hard. 

To which these lines may be added : 

Alisaundre arisen is 

And sittith on his hygh deys 

His duykes and his barouns saun doute 

Stondith and sittith him aboute \ 

The two following extracts are in a softer strain, and not inel^ant 
for the rude simplicity of the times : 

Mury is the blast of the styvour^ 

Mury is the twynkelyng of the harpour* ; 

Swote is the smeol of flour 

Swete hit is in maldenes hour ' 

— ^— SbaH ye ryde Swithe mury hit is In lulle 

On httwkyng by ike river syde, . When the burdes wawen atte. 

Chaucer, Franklein's Tale, ▼. 1752. p.lll. And in another place we have, 

^' « « . . Mury hit is in haUe to here the harpe ; 

These feuconers upon a fiure mere ^he mynstrall syngith, theo jogolour 

That with the hawkis han the hertm r-rntth — .L 5M0 

slaine. ^ 

• [The Lincoln's Inn MS. reads "faire Here, by the way, it appears, that the 
bone," which is probably the correcter minstrels and juglers were distinct cha- 
version. — Pricb.] racters. So Robert de Brunne, in descri- 

^ See Observations on the Fidry Queen, bing the coronation of king Arthur, apud 

i. § T. p. 146. Anstis, Ord. Gart i. p. S04. 

-line 1075. ' '^J* ^•f ^ JogeUurs wer ther \nouh 

yj cannot explain this word. It is a ^hat wer queitise for the drouh, 

wind-instrument. J/yiw^rei. many with dy vers glew, &c 

* This poem has hkewise, in the same ^ j / o * 
vein, the following well-known old rhyme, A nd Chaucer mentions " mnutreU and eke 
wikich paints the manners, and is perhaps Joghurs.** Rom. R. v. 764.* But they are 
the true reading, line 1163. . often confounded or made the same. 


Appeol swote berith faire colour 
In treowe love Is swote amour*. 

In tyme of May, the nyghtyngale 
In wode makith miry gale ; 
So doth the foules grete and smale 
Som on hulle, som on dale^ 

Much the same vernal delights^ doathed in a similar style, with the 
addition of knights tumeying and maidens dancing, invite king Philip 
on a progress ; who is entertained on the road with hearing tales of an- 
cient heroes. 

Mery time it is in May 
The foules syngeth her lay ; 
The knighttes loueth the tomay 
Maydens so dauncen and thay play. 
The kyng forth rideth his joumay 
Now hereth gest of grete noblay ^ 

Our author thus describes a battle^ : 

Alisaundre to-fore is ryde 

And mony gentil knyght him myde 

Ac, for to abide his maignd freo 

He abideth undur a treo. 

xl. thousand chivalrie 

He heom taketh in his bataile. 

He dasscheth forth overward 

Theo othres comen afterward : 

He soughte his knyghtis in mischef 

He tok hit in h^orte agref. 

He tok Bulsifal* in the syde ; 

As a ^walewe he can fordi glide. 

A duyk of Perce sone he mette 

With his launce he him grette ; 

He perced his bruny and clewyd his scheld, 

Theo heorte he carf ; so he him yeilded : 

Theo duyk feol doun to the grounde 

He starf quykliche of that wounde. 

Alisaundre tho aloud saide, 

Other tole nane Y payd : 

Yut ye schole, of myn paye 

Or Y go hennes, more asay ! 

Anothir launce in honde he hent ; 

Ageyns the Prynce of Tyre he went, 

' line 2571. * line 2546. « line 5210. •» line 3776. * Bucephalus. 


And smot him ihorugh the breste ihare 

And out of his sadel him bare ; 

And Y sey, for soth thyng 

He brak his launce in the fallyng. 

Octiater, with muche wondur 

Antiochim hadde him undur, 

With his sweord he wolde his heved 

Fro the body have y-weved. 

He sygh Alisaundre the gode gome 

To him wardes swithe come 

He left his pray and fieygh to hors 

For to save his owne cors. 

Antioeus on stede he leop 

Of no wounde tok he kep ; 

And eke he hadde y-mad furford 

Alle y-mad with speris ord^. 

Tholomeus and his felawe^ 

Of this socoure weore ful fawe. 

Alisaundre made a cry hardy 

Ore tosiy ore tatty aly ! aly ! 

There knyghtis of Akaye 

Justed with heom of Arabye ; 

Tho^ of Rome, and heo of Mede 

Mony lond with othir yeode 

Egipte justed with Tire 

Simple knyghtis with liche sire ; 

There was yeve no forberyng ; 

Bytweone favasour* and kyng. 

To-fore, me myghte, and by hynde 

Contek^ seche and contek fynde. 

With Perciens foughte Egregies*; 

Ther ros cry, and gret noyse. 

They kydde" there they nere nyce 

They braken speres to sclyces : 

Me myght fynde knyghtis there, 

Mony on lost his justere : 

There was sone in litel thrawe% 

Many gentil knyght y-elawe ; 

Mony arm, mony hed^ 

Was sone fro the body weved : 

Mony gentil levedy' 

There les hire amy^ : 

» point * strife. ° head. 

« fellows. » Greeks. ' lady, 

h they. *" thought [shewed]. * paramour. 

* servant; subject. " short time. 


There was mony mon killed 
And mony fair pencel by bled'. 
There was sweord lakkyng * 
There was spere bathyng^ 
Bothe kynges there, saun doute 
Beoth y-beten, with al heore rowte ; 
The on to don men of him speke 
The other his hannes for to wreke. 
Mony loudes nygh and feor. 
Losten heore lordes in that weorre. 
The eorthe quakid of hir rydyng 
The weder* thicked of heore cryeng 
Theo blod of heom that was slawen 
Ran by flodis and by lauen, &c. 

r have already mentioned Alexander's miraculous horn*. 

He blew his horn, sau'n doute 

His folk come swithe aboute : 

And he heom saide with voys clere, 

" Y bidde, freondes, ye me here I 

AlLsaundre b y-come in' this lond 

With stronge knyghtis, and myghty of hond.** 

Alexander's adventures in the deserts among the Gymnosophists, and 
in Inde, are not omitted. The authors whom he quotes for his vouchers, 
shew the reading and ideas of the times.^ 

Thoo Alisaundre went thorough desert 

Many wondres he seigh apert' 

Whiche he dude wel descryve 

By good clerkes in her lyve 

By Aristotle his maister that was 

Better clerk sithen non nas. 

He was with hym and seigh and wroot 

Alle thise wondres, (god it woot) 

Salomon that al the werldc thorough yede 

In sooth witnesse helde hym myde. 

' "many a rich lyanner, or flag, sprin- standing the word in its usual sense — the 

kled with blood." points of the spears were bathed in blood. 

• clashing. [" Lakkyng seems to mean — M.]- 

licking (blood) as the poet speaks of spears " weather, sky. 

bathing in blood." Weber. — This phrase » [It is most probable that Warton in- 
18 one of frequent occurrence in Angio- terpreted this passage of Alexander's horn: 
Saxon poetry, and bears a very different Mr. Weber certainly has; though the con- 
import from that given by Mr. Weber : text plainly shews that it was Darius who 
sweord-Iac A. S. gladiorum ludus, from blew it — Price.] 
lacan, to play.— Price.] "^ line 4772. 

' MS. ba]nng. I do not understand the * saw openly, 
word. [There seems no difficulty in under- 


Ysidre' also, that was so wys 
In his bokes telleth this. 
Maister Eustroge bereth hym witnesse 
Of the wondres more and lesse. 
Seynt Jerome, yee shullen y-wyte 
Hem hath also in book y-wryte ; 
And Magestene, the gode clerk 
Hath made therof mychel werk. 
Denys that was of gode memorie 
It sheweth al in his book of storie ; 
And also Pompie" of Rome lorde, 
Dude it writen every worde. 
Beheldeth me therof no fynder*; 
Her bokes ben my shewer 
And the lyf of Alysaunder 
Of whom fleigh so riche sklaunder, 
Yif yee willeth yive listnyng 
Now yee shullen here gode thing. 
In somers tyde the day is long ; 
Foules syngeth and maketh song 
Kyng Alisaunder y-went is, 
With dukes, erles, and folk of pris, 
With many knighth and doughtty man, 
Toward the cit6 of Facen ; 
After kyng Poms that flowen^ was 
Into the cit6 of Bandas : 
He wolde wende thorough desert 
Thise wonders to seen apert. 
Gyoures he name^ of the londe 
Fyve thousande I understonde 
That hem shulden lede ryth^, 
Thorough desert by day and nyth. 
The gyoures loveden the kyng noughth 
And wolden have hym bycaughth : 
Hy ledden hym therfore als I fynde 
In the straungest peryl of Ynde. 
Ac, so ich fynde in the book 
Hy were asshreynt in her crook. 
Now rideth Alisaunder with his ost, 
With mychel pryde and mychel boost ; 
Ac ar hy comen to castel, either toun 
Hy shullen speken another lessoun. 

y Isidore, He meaQs, I suppose, Isi- the hbtorian, whom he confounds witli 

dorus Hispalenaisi a Latin writer of the Pompcy the Great 

eventh century. * ** don't look on me as the inventor.*' 

* He means Justin's Trogus Pompeius ^ fled. * took. ^ straight 


Lordyngesy also I fynde 

At Mede so bigynneth Ynde : 

Fofsothe ich woot, it stretoheth ferrest. 

Of alle the londes in the est, 

And oth the south half sikerlyk 

To the cee taketh of Affiryk; 

And the north half to a mountayne» 

That is ydeped Caucasyne^ 

Foraothe yee shullen understonde 

Twyes is somer in the londe 

And never more wynter ne chalen'. 

That londe is fill of al wele ; 

Twyes hy gaderen fruyt there 

And wyne and come in one yere. 

In the londe als I fynde, of Ynde 

Ben dt^ five thousynde ; 

Withouten ydles and casdes, 

And boroughs tounes swithe feles'. 

In the londe of Ynde thou mighth lere 

Nyne thousynde folk of selcouth^ maner^ 

That ther non is other yliche ; 

Ne held thou it noughth ferlich 

Ac by that thou understonde the gestes 

Bethe of man and ek of beestes, &c 

Edward the Second is said to have carried with him to the siege of 
Stirling castle, in Scotland, a poet named Robert Baston. He was a 
Carmelite friar of Scarborough ; and the king intended that Baston, 
b^ing an eye-witness of the expedition, should celebrate his conquest of 
ScoUand in verse. Hollingshead, an historian not often remarkable 
for penetration, mentions this circumstance as a singular puoof of Ed- 
ward's presumption and confidence in his undertaking against Scotland : 
but a poet seems to have been a stated officer in the royal retinue when 
the king went to war^ Baston, however, appears to have been chiefly 
a Latin poet, and therefore does not properly fall into our series. At 
least his poem on the siege of Striveling castle is written in monkish 
Latin hexameters^ : and our royal bard being taken prisoner in the ex- 
pedition, was compelled by the Scotch to write a panegyric, for lus 

* CsQcasiif. ' chill, cold. ham, a captain in the expedition. He 

* very many. ^ uncommon. flourished about A. D. 1200. Tann. Bibl. 
>Leland. Script Brit p. 338. Hoi- p. 591. See Vom. Hist Lat. p. 441. He 

lingsh. Histii. p.217.220. Tanner men- is called "poeta per eam aetatem excel- 

tions, as a poet of England, one Oulielmus lens." See Hal. iii. 45. Pits. 266. 

Pere(pinus, who accompanied Richard the [See Leland. Script Brit p. 228. 

First into the Holy Land, and sung his And a note in the editor's first Index, 

Achievements there in a Ladn poem, en- under Oulielmus de Canno. — Addi- 

titled Odoeporicon Ricardi Regis, tions.] 

lib. L It is dedicated to Hubert arch- ) It is exUnt in Fordun's Scod-ehron. 

bishop of Canterbury, and Stephen Turn- c. xxiii. 1. 12. 


ransom, on Robert Brus, which is composed in the same style and lan- 
guage**. Bale mentions his Poematay ei RhfikmU TragctduE et Co* 
mcedus mUgaresK Some of these indeed appear to have been written 
in English : but no English pieces of this author now remain. In the 
mean time, the bare existence of dramatic compositions in England at 
this period, even if written in the Latin tongue, deserve notice in in- . 
vestigating the progress of our poetry. For the same reason I must not 
pass over a Latin piece, called a comedy, written in this reign, perhaps 
by Peter Babyon ; who by Bale is styled an admirable rhetorician and 
poet, and flourished about the year 13I7* This comedy is thus entitled 
in the Bodleian manuscript, De Babume ei Croceo domino BabUmis et 
Viola JUiagtra Babionis quam Croceus duxii inmio Babumey et Pecula 
uxore Babionis et Fodio suOf Sfc,^ It is written in long and short Latin 
verses, without any appearance of dialogue. In what manner, if ever, 
this piece was represented theatrically, cannot easily be discovered or 
ascertained. Unless we suppose it to have been recited by one or more 
of the characters concerned, at some public entertainment. The story 
is in Gower's Confess lo Amantis. Whether Gower had it. from this 
performance I will not enquire. It appears at least that he took it from 
some previous book. 

I find writte of Babio, 
Which had a love at his menage, 
Ther was no fairer of hir age. 
And hight Viola by name, &c. 

^ Leland. ut supr. And MSS. Harl. Boulay has noticed a tragedy de PUura et 

1819. Brit Mus. See also Wood» Hist. JIfarco, and a comedy called ^/<ia, written 

Ant Univ. Ozon. i. p. 101. by William of Blois in the reign of Louis 

1 Apud Tanner, p. 79. VII. ( 1 137*1 180). See Hist UniT. Par. 

■ Arch. B. 52. tom. ii. p. 337.— Price.] 

[It is difficult to account for the decided [The Geta is a middle age version of 

yet erroneous manner in which Warton the subject of one of the comedies of 

has spoken of this piece. In the Cotton Plautus, and was probably written about 

manuscript, (Titus A. zx.) the several the same time as the Babio, namely, the 

parts of the dialogue are distinguished by beginning of the thirteenth century. The 

Initial capitols; and on the opposite side author was Vital of Blob (Vitalis Ble- 

stand marginal notices of the change of sensis). Several similar poems are found 

person. Thus \ " Babio, Violse ; Viola, Ba- in MS. in the continental libraries. They 

bioni ; Fodius, Babioni ; Babio, Croceo." certainly bear no marks of having been 

— The Comedy of Geta noticed below, and intended for dramatic pieces. The only 

also occurring in the Cotton MS., is found- MSS. known of the Babio are, the one 

ed on the ancient fable of Jupiter's in- in the British Museum, and two in the 

trigue with Alcmena. It is in the same Bodleian library : those of the Geta 

style of dialogue with Babio, and has si- are very numerous. The latter was first 

milar marginal directions ; such as " Ju- printed by Angelo Maio, at Rome, and 

piter,Alcmen«; Alcmena, Jovi." The line since by Frederic Osann, at DarmsUdt 

quoted by Warton occurs in what may be A more complete text by the aid of better 

called the Prologue. The Cotton MS. af- MSS., along with the Babio, and some 

fords no clue as to the date of these singu- other similar pieces, has been published 

lar productions. ' It contuns a farrago of by the writer of this note. The Alda was 

rhythmical pieces from the time of Gualo written by Matthseus Vindocinensia. See 

(1160) to Baston and perhaps later. But further Dr. Endlicher's excellent Cata- 

in France such pieces appear to have been logue of the Vienna MSS. — W.] 
current during the twelfth century. Du 


Edward in this establishment had any retrospect to king Arthur, as an 
idle and legendary tradition^. But the fame of Arthur was still kept 
alive, and continued to be an object of veneration long afterwards : and 
however idle and ridiculous the fables of the round table may appear 
at present, they were then not only universally known, but firmly be- 
lieved. Nothing could be more natural to such a romantic monarch, 
in such an age, than the renovation of this most antient and revered 
institution of chivalry. It was a prelude to the renowned order of the 
garter, which he soon afterwards founded at Windsor, during the cere- 
monies of a magnificent feast, which bad been proclaimed by his heralds 
in Germany, France, Scotland, Burgundy, Heynault, and Brabant, and 
lasted fifteen days^. We must not try the modes and notions of other 
ages, even if they have arrived to some degree of refinement, by those 
of our own. Nothing is more probable, than that this latter foundation 
of Edward the Third took its rise from the exploded story of the garter 
of the countess of Salisbury^. Such an origin is interwoven with the 
manners and ideas of the times. Their attention to the fair sex entered 
into every thing. It is by no means unreasonable to suppose, that the 
fantastic collar of Essess C'^'^]' worn by the knights of this Order, was 
an allusion to her name. Froissart, an eye-witness and well acquainted 
with the intrigues of the court, relates at large the king's affection for 
the countess; and particularly describes a grand carousal which he 
gave in consequence of that attachment ^. The first festival of this 
order was not only adorned by the bravest champions of Christendom, 
but by the presence of queen Philippa, Edward's consort, accompanied 
with three hundred ladies of noble families^. The tournaments of this 
stately reign were constantly crowded with ladies of the first distinction ; 
who sometimes attended them on horseback, armed with daggers, and 
dressed in a succinct soldier-like habit or uniform prepared for the pur- 
posed In a tournament exhibited at London, sixty ladies on palfries 
appeared,- each leading a knight with a gold chain. In this manner 
they paraded from the Tower to Smithfield*. Even Philippa, a queen 

* Ord. Gart ii. 92. by the legislature. By a statute of queen 

* Barnes, i. ch. 22. p. 292. Froissarti Elisabeth, a severe penalty is laid, "on all 
c. 100. Anstis ut supr. • fond pbantastical prophecies upon or by 

* Ashmole proves, that the orders of the the occasion of any arms, fields, beastes, 
Jinnuneiada, and of the Toison d'Or, had badges, or the like things accustomed in 
the like origin. Ord. Gart. p. 180, 181. arms, cognisaunces, or signetu,*' &c. SU- 
Even in the ensigns of the order of the tut. v. Elix. ch. 15. A.D. 1564. 

Holy Ghost, founded m> late as 1578, some ' Ubi supr. 

love-mysteries and emblems were con- • They soon aAerwards regularly re- 

cealed under cyphers introduced into the ceived robes, with the knights companions, 

blasonrie. See Le Laboureur, Con tin. des for this ceremony, powdered with garters. 
Mem. de Castelnau, p. 895. " II y eut plus ^ Ashmol. Ord. Gart. 2 1 7. 594. And Anstis, 

de mysteres d'amourettes que de religion," ii. 1 2 3. 

&c But I cannot in this place help ob- ^ Knyghton, Dec. Script, p. 2597. 

serving, that the iantastic humour of un- ' Froi6sart apud Stowe's Surv. Lond. p. 

riddling emblematical mysteries, supposed 718. edit. 1616. At an earlier period, the 

to be concealed under all ensigns and arms, growing gallantry of the times appears in 

was at length carried to such an extrava- a public instrument. It is in the reign 

gance, at least in England, as to be checked of Edward the First. Twelve jurymen 

VOL. II. n 


of singular elegance of manners'', partook so much of the heroic spirit 
which was universally diffused, that just before an engagement with the 
king of Scotland, she rode round the ranks of the English army en- 
couraging'the soldiers, and was with some difficulty persuaded or com- 
pelled to relinquish the field K The countess of Montfort is another 
eminent instance of female heroism in this age. When the strong town 
of Hennebond, near Rennes, was besieged by the French, this redoubted 
amazon rode in complete armour from street to street, on a large courser, 
animating the garrison"'. Finding Irom a high tower that the whole 
French army was engaged in the assault, she issued, thus completely 
accoutred, through a convenient postern at the head of three hundred 
chosen soldiers, and set fire to the French camp". In the mean time 
riches and plenty, the effects of conquest, peace, and prosperity, were 
spread on every side ; and new luxuries were imported in great abun- 
dance from the conquered countries. There were few families, even of 
a moderate condition, but had in their possession precious articles of 
dress or furniture ; such as silks, fur, tapestry, embroidered beds, cups 
of gold, silver, porcelain, and crystal, bracelets, chains and necklaces, 
brought from Caen, Calais, and other opulent foreign cities^ The in- 
crease of rich furniture appears in a foregoing reign. In an act of par- 
liament of Edward the First p, are many regulations, directed to gold- 
smiths, not only in London, but in other towns, concerning the ster- 
ling allay of vessels and jewels of gold and silver, &c. And it is said, 
'^Gravers or cutters of stones and scab shall give every one their just 

depose upon oath the state of the king's magnificent tournaments in France, the 

lordship at Woodstock ; and among other ladies determined the prize. See Mem. 

things it is solemnly recited, that Henry Anc. Cheval. i. p. 175 seq. p. 328 seq. An 

the Second often resided at Woodstock, English squire, on the side of the French, 

"pro amore ctgusdam mulieris nomine captain of the castle of Beaufort, called 

Rosamunda." Heame's Avesbury, Ap- himself le Poursuivant tf amour, in 1369. 

pend. p. 33 1. Froissart, 1. i. c 64. In the midst of grand 

^ And of distinguished beauty. Hearne engagements between the French and En- 
says, that the statuaries of those days used glish armies, when perhaps the interests 
to make queen Philippa a model for their of both nations are vitally concerned, Frois* 
images of the Virgin Mary. Gloss. Rob. sart gives many instances of officers en- 
Brun. p. 549. He adds, that the holy tering into separate and personal combat 
virgin, in a representation of her assump- to dispute the beauty of their respective 
tion was constantly figured young and mistresses. Hist. l.ii. ch. 33. 43. On this 
beautiful ; and that the artists before the occasion an ingenious French writer ob- 
Reformation generally **had the most serves, that Homer's heroes of antient 
beautiful women of the greatest quality Greece are just as extravagant, who in 
in their view, when they made statues the heat of the fight, often stop on a sud> 
and figures of her." ibid. p. 550. den, to give an account of the genealogy 

* Froissart, i. c 138. of themselves or of their horses. Mem. 

"* Froissart says, that when the English Anc Cheval. ubi supr. Sir Walter Manny, 

proved victorious, the countess came out in 1343, in attacking the castle of Gui* 

of the castle, and in the street kissed sir gard exclaims, ** Let me never be beloved 

Walter Manny the English general, and of my mistress, if I refuse this attack," &c. 

his captains, one after another, twice or Froissart, LSI. 

thrice, comme noble et vaUiant dame. On " Froissart, i. c. 80. DuChesne, p^ 656. 

another like occasion, the same historian Meseray, iL 3. p. 19 seq. 

relates, that she went out to meet the offl- « Walsing. Ypodigm. 121. Hist. 159. 

cers, whom she kissed and sumptuously ' A.D. 1300. Edw. I. an. 28. cap. xz. 
entertained in her castle, i. c. 86. At many 


weight of silver and gold." It should be remembered, that about this 
period Europe had opened a new commercial intercourse with the ports 
of India 4. No less than eight sumptuary laws, which had the usual efiect 
of not being observed, were enacted in one session of parliament during 
this reign'. Amid these growing elegancies and superfluities, foreign 
manners, especially of the French, were perpetually increasing ; and the 
native simplicity of the English people was perceptibly corrupted and 
e£&ced. It is not quite uncertain that masques had their beginning in 
this reign*. These shows, in which the greatest personages of the court 
often bore a part, and which arrived at their height in the reign of 
Henry the Eighth, encouraged the arts of address and decorum, and 
are symptoms of the rise of polished manners^. 

In a reign like this, we shall not be surprised to find such a poet as 
Chaucer ; with whom a new era in English poetry begins, and on whose 
account many of these circumstances are mentioned, as they serve to 
prepare the reader for his character, on which they throw no inconsi- 
derable light. 

But before we enter on so ample a field, it will be perhaps less em- 
barrassing, at least more consistent with our prescribed method, if we 
previously display the merits of two or three poets, who appeared in 
the former part of the reign of Edward the Third, with other incidental 

The first of these is Richard [Rolle of] Hampole, an eremite of the 
order of saint Augustine. He was a doctor of divinity, and lived a solitary 
life near the nuns of Hampole, four miles from Doncaster in Yorkshire. 
The neighbourhood of this female society could not withdraw our re- 
cluse from his devotions and his studies. He flourished* in the year 
1349*^. His Latin theological tracts, both in prose and verse, are nu- 
merous ; in which Leland justly thinks he has displayed more erudition 
than eloquence. His principal pieces of English rhyme are a Para- 
phrase of part of the Book of Job, 'of the Lord's Prayer, of the seven 
penitential Psalms, and the Pricke of Conscience. But our hermit's 
poetry, which indeed from these titles promises but little entertainment, 
has no tincture of sentiment, imagination, or elegance. The following 
verses are extracted from the Pricke of Conscience, one of the most 
common manuscripts in our libraries, and I prophesy that I am its last 
transcriber f. But I must observe first, that this piece is divided into 

' Anderson, Hist Comnu i. p. 141. • [died.--M.] 

' Ann. 37 Edw. IH. cap. viii. seq. " Wharton, App. ad Cave, p. 75. SscuL 

* See supr. p. 21 of this volume. Wicklev. 

' This spirit of splendor and gallantry f [This prophecy was not verified. In 
was continued in the reign of his successor. the Archaeologia, vol. xix. pp. 314-335. 
See the genius of that reign admirably cha- 4to. 1 82 1 . is a long analysis of Hampole's 
nacterised, and by the hand of a master, in poem, by Mr. J. B.Yates, illustrated by ex- 
bishop Lowth's Life of Wykeham, p. 222. tracts ; in which the writer advocates with 
^ee also Hollingsh. Cbron. sub ann. 1 399. very doubtful success the poetical talent of 
p. 508. col. 1. the recluse against the opinion of Warton. 

D 2 


seven parts. I. Of man's nature. II. Of the worid. III. Of death. 
IV. Of purgatory. V. Of the day of judgment VI. Of thetormento 
of hell. VII. Of the joys of heaven^. 

Mankynde mad ys to do Goddus wylle. 

And alle hys byddyngus to fulfille ; 

For of al hys makyng more & les, 

Man most principal creature es. 

Al that he made for man hit was done. 

As )e schal here after sone. 

God to monkynde had grete loue. 

When he ordeyned to monnus bihoue. 

This world & heuen hym to glade ; 

Here in myddellerd man last he made, 

To hys lickenes in feire stature ; 

To be most worthi creature, 

Biforen alle creatures of kynde, 

He 3af hym wit, skyl, and mynde, 

For to knowe bothe good & ille : 

& als he ^af hym a fre wille, 

For to chose & for to holde, 

Good or euel quethur he wolde. 

And as he ordeyned mon to dwelle. 

To lif in erthe in flesch and felle. 

To know hys werkus and hym worschepe. 

And hys comaundmentus to kepe, 

And 3yf he be to God buxome, 

To endles blis aftur to come ; 

And 3yf he wrongly here wende, 

To peyne of helle wyt outen ende. 

But it 18 somewhat remarkable, that pre- * Stimulus Corbciehtix thyt bokt ys 

Tious to the publication of Mr. Yates's pa- namyd. MS. AshmoL fol. No. 41. There la 

per, a pamphlet of limited circulation (only much transposition in this copy. In MS. 

50 copies haTing been printed), written Digb. Bibl. Bodl. 87. it is called The Key 

by W. J. Walter, appeared, 8vo. London, OP Knowing. Princ. 

1816. pp. 17. under the title of "An Ac- ^^ . ^ ^ ^ ^ .^ 

count of a MS. of ancent English poetry, ^^^ ^.^^^ J^Zu^ al witd. 
entitled Clavis Scientia, or Br9tayne*t 

Skyll-katf of Knetwingthy John deWageby, [The Lansdowne MS. of the Pricke of 
monk of Fountains Abbey." This MS. Conscience (no. 348) agrees so closely both 
in reality, is only one of the numerous co- in matter and orthography with that oon- 
pies existing of Hampole's Pricke 0/ Con- tained in the Ashmole library, that little 
tcience, somewhat altered and abbreviated, doubt can be entertained but one has been 
with some lines added at the conclusion copied from the other. The few Tariatioiis 
by the scribe John de Wageby, whose noticed in the text have arisen moat pro- 
name appears in the colophon. Mr. Walter bably from inattention in the transcriber, 
gives a copious analysis of the work ; and, -—Price.] [The Lansdowne text is her« 
like his successor Mr. Yates, is inclined to substituted forWarton's, but it by no means 
place the author much higher in the jcale agrees so closely in orthography with the 
of poets than Warton's critique would jus* Ashmole copy aa Mr. Price has stated.— 

tify.— M.] M.] 


God made to hys oune lickenes, 

Vche mon liuynge here more & Yes ; 

To whome he hathe ^euen wit & wille*, 

For to knowe bothe good & ille, 

And wille to chese as they vouchesaae. 

Good or euel whethur they wol haue. 

He that hya wille to good wol bowe, 

God wol hym wyt grete mede alowe; 

He that to wyckednes wol & wo, 

Gret peyne schalle he haue al&o. 

That mon therfore holde I*^ for woode, 

lliat cheseth the euel & leueth the goode. 

God made mon of most dignite, 

Of alle creatures most fre, 

And namely to hys owne lickenes, 

As bifore told hyt es» 

And most hath jiuen & yit )iueth, 

Than to any creature that liueth ; 

& more hath het jit therto, 

Heuen blis jif he wel do. 

And pi when he had don amys, 

And had lost that ilke blisy 

God toke mankynde for hys sake. 

And for hys loue dethe wold take. 

And wyt hys blod bought ajeyne, 

To hys blys fro endles peyne. 

Prima Pars db Miseria Humane Condicionis. 

Thus grete loue God to mon kedde, 
& mony good dedus to hym dyd. 
Therfore eueryche mon lemd & lewid, 
Sehulde thynke on loue that he hym schewed, 
And these good dedus hold in mynde» 
That he thus dede for monkynde ; 
& loue and thonke hym as he con, 
And ellus ys he ynkynde man. 
But he seme hym day & nyght. 
And hys jyftus vse hem ryght, 
' To spende hys wit in goddus seruyce ; 
Vtturiy elles he nys not wyse, 
But he knowe kyndly what god es> 
And what mon ys that is les. 
How febul mon is soule and body, 
How strong god is and myghty, 

■ «kil.— W. * is.— W. 


How mon greuuth god that doe not wele^ 
How man is worthi ther fore to fele, 
How mereifoul & gracious god is, 
And how ful of alle goodnes, 
How ryghwis & how sothefast, 
What he hath don and schal at the last. 
And vche day doth to raonkynde ; 
This schulde iche mon haue in mynde. 
For the riglit wey to that blys, 
That ledudi man thidur that is this. 
The wey of mekenes principaly, 
To drede and lone god almyghtty. 
This ys the wey of wysdome. 
Into whiche way non may come, 
Withowten knowyng of god herey 
Hys myghtus and hys werfcus sere. 
But ar he to that knowiftg winne, 
Hym self he mot know withynne ; 
EUus knowing may not be, 
To wysdome wey non entre. 
Sum han wyt to vndurstonde. 
And ^it they are ful vnknowonde. 
And some thynge hathe no knowyng. 
That myght hem stur to good liuyng. 
Tho men had nede to leme iche day. 
Of men that con more then thay, 
That myght to knowyng hem lede, 
In mekenes to loue god and drede. 
Wheche ys wey and goode wysschynge. 
That may to heuen blis men brynge. 
In gret peril of soule ys that mon, 
That hath wyt, mynde, & no good con. 
And wol not leme for to knawe, 
The werkus of god and hys lawe. 
He nil do aftur mest no lest, 
Bot liueth as an vnskylful best, 
That nother hath skyi, wyt, nor mynde; 
That mon liueth a^eyn hys kynde. 
Hyt excusith not hys vnknowyng. 
That hys wyt vsith not in lemyng, 
Namely in that hym oweth to knowe, 
To meke hys hert & make hyt lowe. 
The vnknoyng schuld haue wiUe, 
To leme to knowe bothe good and ille. 
He that ought con, schuld leme more, 
To know al that nedful wore ; 

sscrr.vii.] thb prickb of conscibncb. 39 

For the vnconnyng^ by leming 
May brought be to vndurstondyng 
Of mony thyoges to knowe & se 
That hothe ben, is, and schal b« ; 
And BO to mekenes sture hys wille» 
To loue & drede god and leue alle ylle. 
Many ben glad triful to here, 
And vanites woUen ^adly lere ; 
Bysi thay ben in word and thought. 
To lerne that soule helputh nought ; 
Bot that that nedfal wore to knowe, 
To here they are wondur slowe. 
Therfore con thay nothyng se. 
The perels thar they schuld drede and fle, 
And what wey thay schulde take, 
And wheche wey they schulde forsake. 
No wondur is though they go wronge. 
In derkenes of vnknouyng they gonge; 
Wytout lyght of vndurstondyng, 
Of that that falluth to ryght knowyng. 
Therfore ich cristen mon and wommon. 
That wyt and wysdom any con, 
That con the ryght wey not sen. 
Nor fle the pereb that wyse flen, 
Schulde buxuni be and bysy. 
To here and lerne of hem namely, 
That vndurstonden and knowen skyl, 
Wheche wey is good and wheche ys il. 
He that wol ryght wey of lyuyng loke, 
Schal thus bigyn, seythe the boke : 
To knowe fyrst what hym self ys; 
So may he come to mekenys. 
That grounde of al vertues ys last. 
The wheche alle vertues may be stedfast. 
He that knoweth wel and con se 
What he ys, was, and schal be, 
A wyser man may be tolde, 
Whethur he be ^ong or olde, 
Then he that con al othur thyng. 
And of hym self hath no knowyng. 
He may no good knowe, ny fele, 
But he fyrst knowe hym seluen wele. 
Therfpre a mon schulde fynst lere 
To know hym self propurly here. 

unknowyng. — W. 


For jyf he knew hyni self kyndly, 
Then may h^ know god almyghty. 
And on hys endyng thynke sehuld he, 
And on the last day that schal be. 
Know schulde he what this worlde es, 
Ful of pompe and leeherousnes, 
And leme to knowe, and thenke wyt alle. 
What schalle aftur this lyf befalle. 
Knowyng of this sehuld hem lede 
To mete wyt mekenes and wyt drede. 
So may he come to good lyuyng, 
And«at the last to good endyng. 
Andy when he schal of Uiis world wende^ 
Be brou^t to blys wyt outen ende. 
• The begynnyng of this proces, 
Ry^t knowyng of a mon hym self yt es. 
Bot sum men han grete lettyng, 
That thay may haue no ryght knowyng. 
Of hem self that thay sehuld fyrst knowe. 
That first to mekenes sehuld hem drawe. 
Ther of foure thinges I fynde. 
That manus wyt maketh oft blynde» 
And knowyng of hym self hyt lettuth, 
Wherfore he hym self for^etuth. 
To this wytnes Bernard onsweres, 
And tho foure wrytun are in this vers^ &o. 

In the Bodleian library I find three copies of the Pricke of Con- 
science very different from that which I have just cited. In these this 
poem is given to Robert Grosthead bishop of Lincoln, above mention- 
ed y. With what probability, I will not stay to enquire ; but hasten 
to give a specimen. I will only premise, that the language and hand- 
writing are of considerable antiquity, and that the lines are here much 
longer. The poet is describing the future rewards and punbhments of 

The goode soule schal have in his herynge 
Gret joye in hevene and grete lykynge r 
For hi schulleth yhere the aungeles song. 
And with hem hi schulleth* synge ever among. 
With delitable voys and swythe clere. 
And also with that hi schullen have there 

* Compare Tanner, Bibl. p. 375. col. I . « The mi3t of the fkder of hevene 

And p. 374. col. 1. Notes. And Grost- The wit of his son with his giftes 

HEAD. And MSS. Ashm. 52. pergam. 4to. seTene." 

y Laud. K. 65. perganif n. And G. 21. * shall. 
And MSS. Digb. 14. Princ. 


All other maner of ech a melodye, 

Off well lykyng noyse and menstralsye. 

And of al maner tenes^ of musike, 

The whuche to mannes herte mi^te like, 

Withoute eni maner of travayle, 

The whuche schal never cesse ne fayle : 

And so 8chil^ schal that noyse be, and so swete. 

And so delitable to smale and to grete, 

That al the melodye of this worlde heer, 

That ever was yhuryd ferre or neer, 

Were therto bote* as sorwe* and care 

To the blisse that is in hevene well ^are'. 

Cf the ccntrarie of that bUsse. 

Wei grete sorwe schal the synfolke^ bytyde, 
For he schuUen yhere in ech a syde^ 
Well gret noyse that the feondes* willen make, 
As thei al the worlde scholde al to-schake ; . 
And alle the men lyyynge that mi^te hit yhure, 
Scholde here wit^ loose, and no lengere alyve dure '. 
Thanne hi °* schulleth for sorwe here hondes wringe, 
And ever weUaway hi schullethe be cryinge, &c. 
The gode men schullethe have worschipes grete, 
And eche of them schal be yset in a riche sete. 
And ther as kynges be ycrownid fayre. 
And dijte with riche perrie" and so ysetun® in a chayre. 
And with stones of v^rtu and preciouse of choyse, 
As David thus sayth to god, with a mylde voyse, 
Posuistif dominej super caput earumy &c. 
«* Lorde," he seyth, "on his heved thou settest wel arijt 
A coroune of a pretious ston richeliche ydi^t.*' 
Ac so fayre a coroune nas never non ysene, 
In this worlde on kynges hevedeP, ne on quene : 
For this coroune is the coroune of blisse, 
^ And the ston is joye whereof hi schilleth never misse, &c» 
The synfolke schulleth, as I have afore ytold, 
Fele outrageous hete, and afterwards to muche colde ; 
For now he schullethe freose, and now brenneS 
And so be ypyned that non schal other kenne', 
- And also be ybyte with dragonnes felle and kene, 
The whuche schulleth hem destrye outri^te and clene, 

* tune*. • shrill. " they. " piccious stonet. 

* buL • sorrow. ° seated. ' head. 

' prepared. ■ sinners. *> This is the Hell of the monks, which 

^ every side. * devils. Milton has adopted. 

^ senses. * remain. ' know. 


And with other vermyn and bestes felle» 

The whiche beothe noujt but fendes of helle, &e. 

We have then this description of the New Jerusalem : — 

This citie is yset on an hei hille, 
That no synful man may therto tille": 
The whuche ich likne to beril clene, 
Ac so fayr berel may non be ysene. 
Thulke hyl is nou^t elles to understondynge 
Bote holi thu^t, and desyr brennynge, 
The whuche holi men hadde heer to that place, 
Whiles hi hadde on eorthe here lyves space ; 
And I likne, as Y may ymagene in my thou^t, 
The walles of hevene, to walles that were ywroujt 
Of all maner preciouse stones yset yfereS 
And ysemented with gold bri^t and clere ; 
Bot so bri3t gold, ne non so clen^, 
Was in this worlde never ysene, &c. 
The wardes of the cite of hevene bri^t 
I likne to wardes that wel were ydy^t. 
And denly ywroujt and sotely enteyled, 
And on silver and gold clenly anamayled", &c. 
The torettes'' of hevene grete and smale 
I likne to the torrettes of clene cristale, &c. 
I ain not, in the mean time, quite convinced that any manuscript of 
the Pricke of Consciencb in English belongs to Hampole. That this 
piece is a translation from the Latin appears from these verses : — 

Therefore this boke is in Englis drawe 

Of fele' matters that bene unknawe 

To lewed men that are unkonande^ 

That con no latyn undirstonde '. 

' come. * together. Now have I finte as I undertoke 

* enamelled. * turrets. Fulfilled the sevene materes of this boke, 

* many. ^ ignorant. And oute of Latyn I have hem idrawe 

* MSS. Digb. ut supr. 87. ad princip. The whiche to som man is unknawe, 
[Mr. Ritson conceived this passage ** by And namely to lewed men of Yngelonde 

no means conclusive of a Latin original," That konneth no thinge but Englishe 

and inferred that it might "be nothing undirstonde. 

more than [Hampole's] reason for prefer- And therfor thU treiyt oute drmoe I woide 

ring English to Latin." Lydgate, how- In Englisshe that men undirstonde hit 

ever, considered Hampole as a translator sholde,-^ 

only : And Prikke of Consdence is this tretys 

In perfit living which passeth poysie portttet^'our Lord Jesus Christnow. 

Richard^hermite contemplaUve of sen- p^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^y^, y, ^„^ 

Brou^TnEnsUshe. ^^^^^oi^^^^^ AndlT'for hym that this boke hath 
' iwnte here, 

And this opinion is confirmed by the ex- Whether he be in water other in londc 
press acknowledgment of the King's MS. fcrre or nere. 

8BGT. VII.] 



The Latin original in prose, entitled Stimulus Conscientl£% was 
most probably written by Hampole : and it is not very likely that he 
should translate his own work. The author and translator were easily 
confounded. As to the copy of the English poem given to bishop 
Grosthead, he could not be the translator, to say nothing more, if Ham- 
pole wrote the Latin original. On the whole, whoever was the author 
of the two translations, at least we may pronounce with some certainty, 
that they belong to the reign of Edward the Third.* 

Indeed it would be difficult to account 
for the existence of two English versions, 
esKntially differing in metre and language ; 
though generaUy agreeing in matter, un- 
less we assume a common Latin original. 
Which of these is Hampole's translation, 
can only be decided by inspecting a copy 
once in the possession of Dr. Monro ; and 
which Hampole "left to the society of 
Friers-minors at York, after his and his 
brother's death." No manuscript which 
has fallen under the Editor's notice, makes . 
mention of Hampole in the text ; nor has 
he been able to discover any shadow of 
authority, for attributing to this sainted 
bard, the pieces numbered from 6 to 16 in 
Mr. Ritson's Blbliographia Poedca. — 

* In the Cambridge manuscript of Ham- 
pole's Paraphrase on the Lord's Prayer, 
above mentioned, containing a prolix de- 
scription of himian virtues and vices, at 
the end, this remark appears : — ** Explicit 
qnidam tractatus super Pater noster m- 
eundum Ric. Hampole qui obiit A. D. 
MCccLXXXiv." [But the truer date of his 
death is in another place of the same MS. 
vis. 1348.] MSS. More, 215. Princ 

** Almighty God in trinite 
In whom is only personnes thre." 

The Paraphrase on the book of Job, men- 
tioned also before, 'seems to have existed 
first in Latin prose under the title of Par* 
vum Job. The English begins thus : 

" Lieff lord, my soul thou spare." 

In BlbL Bodl. MSS. Laud. F 77. 6, &c. &c 
It is a paraphrase of some Excerpta (rem 
the book of Job. The seven penitential 
Psalms begin thus : 

" Togoddis worschippe thatdere usbou3t" 

MSS. Bodl. Digb. 18. Hampole's Expo- 
sitio in Psalterium is not uncommon in 
Engjiish. It has a preface in English 
-hymes in tome copies, in praise of the 

author and his work. Pr. <* This blessyd 
boke that hire." MSS. Land. F 14, &c. 
Hampole was a very popular writer. 
Most of his many theological pieces seem 
to have been translated into Englisn soon 
aftar they appeared : and those pieces 
abound among our manuscripts. Two of 
his tracts were translated by Richard Mi- 
syn, prior of the Carmelites at Lincoln, 
about the year 1435. The Ineendium 
Amoris, at the request of Margaret Hel- 
lingdon a recluse. Princ. "Totheaskynge 
of thi desire." And De Emendatione Vitse. 
" Tarry thou not to oure." They are in 
the translator's own hand-writing in the 
library of C. C. C. Ozon. MSS. 237. I 
find other antient translations of both these 
pieces. Particularly, The Pricke op 
Love after Richard Hampolf tniingofthe 
three degreet rf love, MSS. Bodl. Arch. 
B. 65. f. 1 09. As a proof of the confusions 
and uncertainties attending the works of 
our author, I must add, that we have a 
translation of his tract De Emendatione 
under this title i^The form of perfyt li- 
ving, which holy Richard the hermit wrote 
to a redute named Margarete, MS. Vernon. 
But Margarete is evidently the recluse, at 
whose request Richard Misyn, many years 
after Hampole's death, translated the In- 
eendium Amoris. These observations, to 
which others might be added, are suffi- 
cient to confirm the suspicions insinuated 
in the text Many of Hampole's LatiK 
theological tracts were printed very early 
at Paris and Cologne. 

* [Much about the same period, Law- 
rence Minot, not mentioned by Tanner, 
wrote a collection of poems on the prin- 
cipal events of the reign of king Edward 
the Third, preserved in the British Mu- 
seum. MSS. Cotton. Galb. E ix. — Ad- 

[The poems of Minot were published 
by Mr. Ritson in 1796. They are noticed 
hereafter, and a few specimens of his style 
are given.-^PAlcE.] 



Pierce PhwmarCs Vhion, Antient Stale and anginal InstUutian of 
Fairs, Donat explained. AniichrisL 

The next poet in succession b one who deserves more attention on va- 
rious accounts. This is Robert Longlande, author of the poem called 
the Vision of Pierce Plowman, a secular priest, and a fellow of Oriel 
college, in Oxford. He flourished about the year 1350* [1362]. This 
poem contains a series of distinct visions, which the author imagines 
himself to have seen, while he was sleeping, after a long ramble on 
Malveme-hills in Worcestershire. It is a satire on the vices of almost 
every profession ; but particularly on the corruptions of the clei^, and 
the absurdities of superstition. These are ridiculed with much humour 
and spirit, couched under a strong vein of allegorical invention. But 
instead of availing himself of the rising and rapid improvements of the 
English language, Longland prefers and adopts the style of the Anglo- 
Saxon poets. Nor did he make these writers the models of his lan- 
guage only : he likewise imitates their alliterative versification, which 
consisted in using an aggregate of words beginning with the same let- 
ter. He has therefore rejected rhyme, in the place of which he thinks 
it sufficient to substitute a perpetual alliteration. But this imposed 
constraint of seeking identical initials, and the affectation of obsolete 
English, by demanding a constant and necessary departure from the 
natural and obvious forms of expression, while it circumscribed the 
powers of our author's genius, contributed also to render his manner 
extremely perplexed, and to disgust the reader with obscurities. The 
satire is conducted by the agency of several allegorical personages, 
such as Avarice, Bribery, Simony, Theology, Conscience, &c. There 
is much imagination in the following picture, which is intended to re- 
present human life, and its various occupations : 

* I haye here followed a date common- has said in another place: "The Visions 

ly received. But it may be observed, that of (i. e, concerning) Pierce Ploughman are 

there is in this poem an allusion to the fall generally ascribed to one Robert Lang- 

of Edward the Second. The siege of Calais land; but the best MSS. that 1 have seen 

is also mentioned as a recent fact ; and Bri- make the Christian name of the author 

berif accuses Conscience of obstructing the William, without mentioning his surname ; 

conquest of France. See more in Obser- so in MS. Cot Vesp. D xvi. at the end of 

vations on the Fairy Queen, ii. § zi. p. 281. page 1, is this rubric : ' Hie incipit se- 

[Mr. Tyrwhitt has shown that the Vi- cundus Passus de visione Willelmi de Petro 

sions must have been written after or du- Plouhman.* And in verse 5. of page 2. 

ring the year 1363, since they mention And tayde sonne, tlepest thouf the MS. 

"the south western winde on Saturday at has : And tayde Wille tlepett thou? See 

even," which is thus recorded by Thorn, also the account of MS. Harl. 2876, in the 

apud Decem Scriptores. " A.D. mccclxii. Harleian catalogue." This subject will be 

15 die Januarii, circa horam vesperarum, considered in n note at the end of this sec- 

ventus vehemens notus australis Africus tion. — Price.] 
tant& rabie erupit," &c Of the author he 


And than gan I to mete a mervelyous swevency 
That I was in [a?] wyldymese, wyst I never qwere; 
And as I beheld on hey, est on to the Bonne, 
I saw a towr on a toft, ryaly emaked, 
A depe dale benethe, a donjoun therein, 
With depe dykys and dyrke, and dredfiil of sygth. 
A fayr feld ful of folke fond I ther betwene, 
Of al maner of men, the mene and the ryche, 
Werkynge and wanderyng, as the werld askyth ; 
^ Summe put hem to the plow, pleyid hem ful seelde, 
In syttynge and sowyng [swonken full hardeS] 
And wan that wastors with gloteny dystroid ; 
And somme put [hem] to pryde, &c.^ 

The following extracts are not only striking specimens of our author's 
aUegorical satire, but contain much sense and observation of life, with 
some strokes of poetry.® 

Thua yrobed in russet, I romed me aboute^ 

Al a somer seson, for to seche Dowel ^, 

And frayned^ ful efte, of folk that I mette. 

If eny wyghtte wiste, where Dowel was at inne', 

And what man he myghtte be, of many men I askid. 

Was never wyghtte as I wente, that me wyse couthe' 

^ PoL L a. edit 1550. By Roberte Crow- be presumed were intentional, the printed 

ley, 4to. He printed three editions in this copy has conferred nearly as many favoun 

one year. Another was printed [with upon the present text as have been gleaned 

Pierce Plowman's Crede annexed] by Owen from the Cotton manuscript The latter, 

Rogers, 1561. 4to, See Strype, Ann. Re- for the sake of consistency, has been made 

format, i. 135. And Ames, Hist Print the basis ofthe text; its erroneous or doubt- 

p. 270. ful readings — ^more especially such as of- 

* F. 89 seq. Pass. viii. seq. edit 1550. fended agunst the alliteration — ^have been 

[This single passage has been collated removed to the notes below, and those of 

with the Harl. MS. No. 3954. On further Crowley's edition substituted in theur stead. 

Inspection, this manuscript was not only These are all inclosed within brackets.-— 

found incomplete, but essentially varying For the gratification of the scrupulous an- 

from the printed copy of Crowley. Its or- tiquary, the corresponding passages from 

thography has a strong provincial cast; its Dr. Whitaker's edition, corrected by two 

details both of character and description MSS. in the British Museum, will be given 

are frequently mere sketches in compari- in an Appendix to this section, together 

son with the later visions ; its alliteration, with the Editor's reasons for adopting the 

though often varying to advantage, is as fre- present text An examination of the laws 

quently &uUy and confused, and it closes of Alliterative Metre, &c. will also be given, 

with the second Passus de Dobet There- — Price.] 

maining passages have been collated with * Do-well. * inquired. ' lived, 

the Cotton MS. Caligula A xi., which,- ' inform me. [Crowley constantly reads 

though it has a different commencement tvythf wytked, &c.; not I conceive from 

from Crowley's edition, was found to agree ignorance, as asserted by Dr. Whitaker, 

very closely throughout with the printed but in conformity with the orthography of 

text afrer the fourth Passus. In fact. Crow- his MS. Thus the Museum copy of The 

ley's MS. appears to have been a very ex- Pricke of Conscience reads "wysschynge" 

cellent one; and, with the exception ofthe where the Ashmole MS. has '^wissyng." 

orthographical differences, which it may This must have arisen from the different 

travelyd ful sore. MS. 


Where this leede logged ^ lasse other more. 

Til hit bifel on Friday, two freris I mette, 

Maistris of the menours^ men of gret witte ; 

I halsed hem hendeliche^ aa I hadde lemed, 

And preied hem per charite^ er thei pasaeden ferther, 

If thei knewen eny countrye or coostes as thei wente 

Wher that Dowbll dwellyth, dmth me to wyte^ 

For thei ben men of thia mold, that most [wide^] walken, 

And knowe <;ontree8 and [courts',] and many kynnes™ places, 

Bothe prencis peleis, and pore mennys cotis. 

And Dowel and Doevbl, wher thei dwellen bothe. 

Amongis us that man is dwellyng, coth [the] mynours, 

And ever hath as I hope, and [ever] shal heraftir. 

Contra coth I, as a clerk, and comsed to disputen. 

And seide hem sothly, Septies in die cadit Justus, 

Sevene sythes" on the day seith the book, synneth the rightful; 

And who so synneth [I sayS] doth evel as me thynketh, 

And DoEVEL and Dowel mowe not dwelle togedris, 

Ergo he is nat alwey among you freris. 

He is other whiles elles wher, to wisse the peple. 

I sey the, my sone, seide the frere thanne, 

Hbwe sevene sithes the sad® man on a day synneth, 

Bi a [^forbisneP] coth the frere, I shal the faire shewe; 

Let brynge a man in a boot, amydde the brood watir. 

The wynd and the watir, and the boot waggynge 

Makith the man many a time [to fall than to stonde^] ; 

For stonde [he] nevere so styfe, he [stumbleth?] yf he meveth, 

And yit is he save and sound, and so hym behoveth ; 

For if he ne arise the rathur, and raughte to the stere, 

The wynd wold with the watur the boot overthrowe. 

And thanne were his lyf lost thorgh laches ^ of hymsilve. 

And thus hit falleth, coth the frere, by folk here on erthe : 

The watir is likened to the worlde, that [waneth«<] and wexith, 

The goodes of this ground am like to the grete wawes. 

That as wynd and wedris wawen aboute. 

The boot ia likened to our^ bodies, that brotel ben of kynde, 

That thorgh the fende and the fleisch, and the freil worlde 

enunciation given the (double) bs in dif- >> lived. ^ the frien minors, 

ferent counties. In many parts of Ger- ^ saluted them civilly. 

many the words ttein, st^hent &c. are pro- * know. *" sorts of. 

nosnoed as if they were written tkteinf ' times. ^ sober; good. 

sktehen,— -Price,] ^ similitude. "» laziness. 

• wylde. ■ townes. ■• seide he. • an example. 

• Crowley and the Harl. MS. read " to fall and to stande." A belter reading is 
given by Dr. Whitaker, " to fall if he stande." Perhaps the original text was, " to fall 
and {qu€uit and if) he stand." 

7 tumbleth. > wanteth. 


Synneth the sad man a day, sevene sitlies ; 

Ac dedly synne doth he nat, for Dowel hym kepith. 

And that is Charite the champion, chief help agenst lynne ; 

For he itrengtheth man to stonde, and sterith mannys aoule» 

And doith thi body bowe, as boot doth in the watir, 

Ay is thi soul save, but if thi silf wole. - 

Do a dedlye synne, and drenche [so] thi soule, 

God wole sofire wel thy slewthe, if thi silf liketli> 

For he yaf the to yeres-yeves to yeme wel thiself, 

And that is witte and fi«wille, to every wyghtte a porcion^ 

To fleyng foules, to fisches, and also to hestes ; 

Ac man hath most therof, and most is to blame, 

But if he Vorche wel therwith, as Dowel hym techith. 

I have no kjrnde knowyng, coth I, to conceyve al your wordes, 

Ac if I may live and loke, I shal go leme bettre, 

I bykenne the Crist, that on the crois diede, 

And I seide the same save you from myschaunoe, 

And yeve you grace on this grounde good men to worth& 

And thus I wente wyde where, walkyng by myn one. 

By [a wide^] wildemesse, and by a wodis syde; 

The blisse of the briddes, broughtte me a-slepe. 

And undir [a] lynde' [on >o] a launde, lenede I me a stounde*, 

To [lyth^']^ the laies, that the lovely foules maden; 

Myrthe of hire mouthes made me there to slepe. 

The merveilous meteles, me mette^ thanne » 

That ever dremyd wyghtte, in world as I wene ; 

A much man as me thoughtte, and lik to my silve, 

Com and callid me, be my kinde^ name. 

What art thou, coth I tho, that thou my name knowest ? 

That thou wost wel, coth he, and no wyghtte bettre 

Wot I what thou art? Thoughtte, seide he thanne; 

I have suwid* the this sevene yere, sey thou me no rather ? 

Art thou Thoughtte, coth I tho, [thou couldest me wysshe>^] 

Wher that Dowel dwellith, and do me that to knowe. 

Dowel and Dobbt, and Dobest the thirde, coth he, 

Arn thre fair vertues, and ben not fer to fynde ; 

Who so is trew of his tonge, and of his two handes. 

And thorgh his labour and his londes hb lyflode wynneth,^ 

And is trusty of hys taylyng', taketh but his owne. 

And is nat dronkelew* ne deynous, Dowel him folweth; 

Dobbt doth ryght thus, and Doith best moch more ; 

He is low as a lambe, and lovelich of spech, 

* lime tree. • a while. * own. * sought ^ gets. 

* listen. ^ dreamed. * dealing; reckoning. * drunkard. 

• wilde. »• undlr. " hiren. " knowest yw'wse. 


And helpeth alle men, aftir that hem nedith ; 

The bagges and the bigurdles, he hath [to brok *^] hem alle ^ 

That erl avarns helde and his heires ; 

And thus with mammones money he [hath >'] made hjm fi^ndis. 

And is ronnen to religion, and hath rendrid^ the bible, 

And precheth to the peple seynt Poulis wordis, 

Libenter suffertb insipientes cum sitis ipsi sapientes ; 

[And suffereth the unwy«e, wyth you for to lyre, 

And with glad wil dQth he good, for so god yon hoteth]'^. 

DoBEST is above bothe, and berith a bieschopis crois. 

And is hokid on that on ende to halie^ men fro helle. 

And a pike is in the poynt* to putte adon the [wyked^^] 

That waiten eny wickednesse, to do Dowsll to tene. 

And DowELL [and] Dobet, amonges hem have [ordeyned ^^2 

To croune one to be kyng, to reulen hem bothe. 

That if DowELL or Dobet diden ayenst Dobest, 

Thanne shal the kynge come, and [cast ^7] iiem in yrens; 

And but if Dobest [byd*] for hym, there to be for ever. 

Thus Dowel and Dobet, and Dobest the thridde, 

Crouned one to [be^<^3 king, to [kepen^^] hem alle. 

And to reule the reme, by hire' thre wittes. 

And in none other wise, but as thei thre assenteth. 

I thanked Thouohtte tho, that he me [thus] taughtte ; — 

And [yet^] savoreth me noght thi segge, I covyt to leme. 

How Dowel, Dobet, and Dobest, don among the peple? 

But Witt con wisse the**, coth Thouohtte, wer thei* iii dweUen^ 

Els wot I noon that can the telle, that now lyveth. 

Thoughtte and I thus thre dales [we] yeden'^, 

Disputyng upon Dowell, day aftir othir ; 

And er we wer war, with Witte ganne we mete. 

He was long and lene, liche to non othir ; 

Was no pride on his apparail, ne povert neither, 

Sadde of his semblant, and of softe chere. 

I durst mene no mater, to make hym to jangle. 

But as I bad Thoughtte tho be mene bytwene, 

And put forth some purpose, to preve his wittes, 

What was Dowel fro Dobet, and Dobest fram hem bothe 

Thanne Thoughtte in that tyme, seide these wordes. 

Where Dowel, Dobet, and Dobest [ben**] in londe, 

^ broke to pieces. ° translated. ■ their. ■* thee. 

* draw. • staff. » they. * went 

" broken. i> had. >< For these two lines the MS. reads 

" And to the unwise ye don good for so god you hotith." 
» helle. »« ordeyneth. >7 putte. • dide. _»» the. 

" helpe. ^ aright : — perhaps we should read " Ac aright." 



And had affiiited to his hande 
His servant, the which Spodius 
Was hote, &c. 

A fresh a free and frigidly man» &c. 
Which Croceus by name hight, &c.° 

In the mean time it seems most probable, that this piece has been at- 
tributed to Peter Babyon, on account of the likeness of the name Babio, 
especiaUy as he is a ridiculous character. On the whole, there is no- 
thing dramatic In the structure of this nominal comedy; aind it has cer- 
tainly no claim to that title, only as it contains a familiar and comic 
story carried on with much scurrilous satire intended to raise mirth. But 
it was not uncommon to call any short poem, not serious or tragic, a 
comedy. In the Bodleian manuscript, which comprehends Babyon's 
poem just mentioned, there follows Comedia de Geta : this is in Latin 
long and short verses^^, and has no marks of dialogue p. In the library 
of Corpus Christ! college at Cambridge, is a piece entitled Comedia 
ad numasterium de Bidme ordinis S. BenedicH Bioces. Nonoic, directa 
ad Beformaiionem sequentem^ cupu data est prima die Septembrig sub 
anno ChrisH 1477, et a morte Joannis Fastolfe miUiis eorum benefactor 
ris^ precipm 17, in cujus monasterii eccksia humaiur^. This is nothing 
more than a satyrical ballad in Latin ; yet some allegorical personages 
are introduced, which however are in no respect accommodated to see- 
nical representation. About the reign of Edward the Fourth, one Ed- 
ward Watson, a scholar in grammar at O^iford, is permitted to proceed 
to a degree in that faculty, on condition that within two years he would 
write one hundred verses in praise of the university, and also compose a 
Comedy*. The nature and subject of Dante's Comedy, as it is styled, 
is well known*. The comedies ascribed to Chaucer are probably his 
Canterbury Tales, We learn from Chaucer's own words, that tragic 

* Lib. V. f. 109. b. Edit Berth. 1554. Can della Scala, Dante thus explains his 
^ Carmina composuit, voluitque placere own views of Tragedy and Comedy : '' Eat 

poeta. comoedia genus quoddam poeticse narra- 

' f. 121. tionis ab omnibus aliis differens. Differt 

* In the episcopal palace at Norwich is ergo in materia a tragcsdia per hoc, quod 
a curious piece of old wainscot brought tragoedia in principio est admirabilis et 
from the monastery of Hulme at the time quieta, in fine sive ezitu, fcetida et horri- 

of its dissolution. Among other antique bills Comcedia vero inchoat asperita- 

ornaments are the arms of Sir John Fal- tern alici^us rei, sed ejus materiam proa* 

staff, their principal btne&ctor. This pere terminatur. — Similiter diiferunt U 

magnificent knight was also a benefiKtor modo l^quendi.** He has also expatiated 

to Magdalene College in Oxford. He be- upon the distinctive styles peculiar to such 

queathed estates to that society, part of compositions, in his treatise *' De vulgari 

which were appropriated to buy liveriee Eloquentia ; '* though his precepts when 

for some of the senior scholars. But this opposed to his practice have proved a sad 

beoefiKtion in time yielding no more than stumbling-bloclc to the critics : '* Per Tra- 

a penny a week to the scholars who re- gcediam superiorem stylum induimus, per 

cctved the Hveries, they were called, by Comosdiam inferiorem...Si tragice canen- 

way of contempt, FdUtt^t buckram'mmu da videntur, tum adsumendum est vulgare 

' MiscelL M. p. 274. iUustre. Si vero cornice, tum quandoque 

* Hist. Antiq. Univ. Oxon. ii. 4. col. 8. mediocre, quandoque humile vulgare su- 

* [In the dedicstion of his PartuOte to raatur." Lib. U, c. iv.— FaiOE.] 


tales were called Tragedies. In the Prologue to the Mokkrs 

Tragedy is to teU a certaine story, 
As old bokis makin ofte memory, 
Of hem that stode in grete prosperite, 
And be fallen out of her high degree, &c.^ 

Some of these, the Monke adds, were written in prose, others in metre. 
Afterwards follow many tragical narratives : of which he says, 

Tragidies first wol I tell 

Of which I have an hundred in my celL 

Lidgate further confirms what b here said with regard to comedy as 
well as tragedy. 

My maister Chaucer with fresh comedies. 
Is dead, alas! chief poet of Britaine : 
That whilom made ful piteous tragedies °. 

The stories in the Mirror of Magistrates are called tragedies, 
so late as the sixteenth century^. Bale calls his play, or Mystery, of 
God's Promises, a tragedy, which appeared about the year 1538. 

I must however obser\'^ here, that dramatic entertainments, repre- 
senting the lives of saints and the most eminent scriptural stories, were 
known in England for more than two centuries before the reign of Ed- 
ward the Second. These spectacles they commonly styled miracles. 
I have already mentioned the play of saint Catharine, acted at Dun- 
stable about the year 1110'. William Fitz-Stephen, a writer of the 

* ▼. 85. See also, ibid. v. 103. 786. ' Ditsertation iL 

875. [Perhaps the plays of HroswiAa, a nun 

" Prol. F. Pr. ▼. i. See also Chaucer^s of Gandersheim in Lower Saxony, who 

Troil. and Cr. v. 1785. 1787. lived towards the close of the tenth cen- 

* The elegant Fontenelle mentions one tury, afford the earliest specimens of dra- 
Parasols a Limosin, who wrote Cinqug matic composition, since the decline of the 
b€lU» Tragedies de$ gestes de Jeanne Roman Empire. They were professedly 
r«iiM d€ Naples, about the year 1383. written for the benefit of those Christians^ 
Here he thinks he has discovered, so early who, abjuring all other heathen writers, 
as the fourteenth century, *' une Poete tra- were irresistibly attracted by the graces of 
gique." I have never seen these five Tra- Terence, to the imminent danger of their 
gedies, nor perhaps had Fontenelle. But spiritual welfare and the certain pollution 
I will venture to pronounce, thiit they are of their moral feelings. Hroswitha ap- 
nothing more than fiv« tragical narratives : pears (to have been impressed with a hope, 
Queen Jane murthered her (bur husbands, that by contrasting the laudable chastity 
and was afterwards put herself to death. of Christian virtue as exhibited in her com- 
See Fontenelle's Hist, de Theatr. Fr. positions, with what she is pleased to term 
(Euvr. torn, trois. p. 20. edit. Paris, 1742. the lewd voluptuousness of the Grecian 
12mo. Nor can I believe that the Tra- females, the Catholic world might be in* 
gedies and Comedies, as they are called, duced to forget the antient classic; and to 
of Anselm Fayditt, and other early trou- receive with avidity an orthodox substi- 
badours, had anything dramatic. It Is tute, combining the double advantage of 
worthy of notice, that Pope Clement the pleasure and instruction. How &r her 
Seventh rewarded Para&ols for his five expectations were gratified in this latter 
tragedies with two canonries. Compare particular, it is impossible to say ; but we 
Recherches sur les Theatr. de France, par can easily conceive, that the almost total 
M. de Beauchamps, Paris. 1735. 4to. p. 65. oblifiscenoe of the Roman author during 

bBCT, VI.] 



twelfth century, in hia Description of London, rdates that, '' Lon- 
don, for its theatrical exhibitions, had holy plays, or the representation 
of miracles wrought by confessors, and of the sufferings of martyrs'." 
These pieces must have been in high vogue at our present period ; for 
Matthew Paris, who wrote about the year 1240, says that they were such 
as "MiRACuLA VULGARITER APPELLAMUs^." And we Icarn from 

the succeeding ages, must have surpassed 
even her sanguine wishes. It does not ap- 
pear that these dramas were either in- 
tended for representation, or exhibited at 
any subsequent period. They have been 
published twice: by Conrad Celtes in 1501, 
andLeonhardSchurzfleischinl707. They 
bare also been analysed by Gottsched in 
his Materials for a History of the Ger- 
man Stage. Leip. 1757. — Pes (in his The- 
saur. Noviss. Anecd. vol. ii. p. iii. f. 185.) 
has published an ancient Latin Mystery, 
entitled <*De Adventu et Interitu Anti- 
christ!," and which he acknowledges to 
have copied from a manuscript of the 
twelfth century. It approaches nearer to 
the character of a pageant, than to the 
dramatic cast of the later mysteries. The 
dumb show appears to have been consi- 
derable ; the dialogue but occasional ; and 
ample scope is given for the introduction 
of pomp and decoration. The passages to 
be declaimed are written in Latin rhyme. 
Lebenf also mentions a Latin Mystery 
written so early as the time of Henry I. 
of France (1031—1061). In this, Virgil 
is assodated with the prophets who come 
to off^ their adorations to the new-born 
Messiah ; and at the conclusion he joins 
his voice with theirs in singing a long Be^ 
uedieamus. A fragment of what may be 
a German translation of the same mystery, 
and copied from a manuscript of ^e thir- 
teenth century, will be found in Diete- 
rich's Specimen Antiquitatnm Biblicarum, 
p. 122. Marburg 1642. But here, Virgil 
appears as an acknowledged heathen ; and 
be is only admitted with the other pro- 
phets from his supposed predictions of the 
coming Messiah contained In his Pollio. 
In conformity with this opinion, Dante 
adopted him as his ^uide in the In/erno, 

— PRIQB.] 

^ '*Lundonia pro spectaculis theatra- 
libttSy pro ludis scenicis, ludos habet sane- 
tlores, representationes miraculorum quse 
sancti con&ssores operati sunt, sen re- 
presentationes passionum quibus claruit 
eonstantia martyrura." Ad calc. Stowe's 
Survey of London, p. 480. edit 1599. 
The reader will observe, that I have con- 
strued tcmctiores in a positive sense. 
Pits-Stephen mentions at the end of his 
tract, "Imperatricem Matildem, Henri- 
cum regem tertium, et beatum Thomam, 

&c.'* p. 483. Henry the Third did not 
accede till the year 1216. Perhaps he im- 
plied /t»tertti» regem tertium. [Fitz-Ste- 
phen is speaking of Henry the younger, 
son of Henry II. and grandson to the em- 
press Matilda, who was crowned king in 
the life- time of his father ; and is expressly 
styled Henricus Tertius by Matthew Paris, 
William of Newbery, and several other of 
our early historians. — Ritson.] 

* Vit. Abbat ad calc. Hist. p. 56. edit 

[William de Wadington (who possibly 
was a contemporary of Matthew Paris) has 
left a violent tirade against this general 
practice of acting Miracles. As it con- 
tains some curious particulars relative to 
the manner in which they were conducted, 
and the places selected for exhibiting them, 
an extract from it may not be out of place 

Un autre folie apert 
Unt les fols clers cuntrov^ ; 
Qe miracles sunt apele. 
Lur faces unt la deguis^. 
Par visers li forsen^, 
Qe est defendu en decree ; 
Tant est plus grant lur pech^. 
Fere poent representement, 
Mes qe ceo seit chastement 
En office de seint eglise 
Quant horn fet la, Deu servise. 
Cum Ihu Criit leftz DSe, 
En sejmlcre esteit pose ; 
Et la resurrecHun : 
Par plus aver devociun. 
Mes fere foles assembles, 
En les rues des cites, 
Ou en cymiters apres mangers, 
Quant venent les fols volonters, 
Tut dient qe il le funt pur bien: 
Crere ne les devez pur rien, 
Qe fet seit pur le honur de D4e. 
E iuz del Deable pur verity. 
Seint Ysidre me ad testimonie, 
Qe fut si bon clerc lettrg. 
II dit qe cil qe fhnt spectacles, 
Cum I'em fet en miracles, 
Ou iuz qe vus nomames einz, 
Burdiz ou tumemens, 
Lur baptesme unt refusez, 
E Deu de ciel reneiez, &c. 
Ke en lur iuz se delitera, 
Chevals ou hameis Us aprestera. 



Chaucer, that in his time Plays of Miracles were the common resort 
of idle gossips in Lent. 

Therefore made I my visitations, 

To prechings eke and to pilgrimagis, 

To Plays of Miracles, and mariagis, &c.* 

This is the genial Wife of Bath, who amuses herself with these fashion- 
able diversions, while her husband is absent in London, during the holy 
season of Lent. And in Pierce Plowman's Crede, a piece perhaps 
prior to Chaucer, a friar Minorite mentions these Miracles, as not 
less frequented than markets or taverns. 

We haunten no tavemes, ne hobelen abouten, 
Att markets and Miracles we medeley us never^ 

Among the plays usually represented by the guild of Corpus Christi at 
Cambridge, on that festival, Ludus filiorum Israelis was acted in 
the year 1355°. Our drama seems hitherto to have been almost entirdy 
confined to religious subjects, and these plays were nothing more than 
an appendage to the specious and mechanical devotion of the times. I 
do not find expressly, that any play on a profane subject, either tragic 
or comic, had as yet been exhibited in England. Our very early an- 
cestors scarce knew any other history than that of their religion. Even 
on such an occasion as the triumphant entry of a king or queen into 
the city of London, or other places, the pageants were almost entirely 
Scriptural^. Yet I must observe, that an article in one of the pipe- 
Vesture on autre oumement, In the same library there is also another, 
Saches il fet folement. written on paper in the year 1611. Arch. 
Si vestemens serent dedies, B. 31. Of this last there is a translation 
Plus grant dasses est le pechez. in the British Museum. MSS. HarL iSS7 
Si prestreou derc le ust presto, 2. It is entitled the Creation op thb 
Bien dust estre chausti^; World. It is called a Cornish play or 
Car sacrilege est pur verity. opera, and said to be written by Mr. Wil- 
E ki par vanite les Terrunt, liam Jordan. The translation into En- 
De lur fet partaverunt. glish was made by John Keigwin of Mooa- 
Harl. MS. 273. 1 141. — Price.] hole in Cornwall, at the request of Tre~ 

lawney, bishop of Exeter, 1 69 1 . Of this 
* Prol. Wi£ B. ▼. 555. p. 80. Urr. William Jordan I can give no accouaU 

^ Signat. A. iii. b. edit. 1561. In the British Museum there u an antient 

" Masters's Hist C. C. C. C. p. 5. vol. i. Cornish poem on the death and resurrec- 
[Perhaps the earliest Englbh Miracle- tlon of Christ It is on vellum, and hat 
Ptoy extant, is ''Our Saviour's Descent some rude pictures. The beginning and 
into Hell," noticed by Mr. Strutt in his end are lost The writing is supposed to 
" Manners and Customs of the People of be of the fifteenth century. MSS. Harl . 
England," vol. 2. It has been recently 1782. 4ta See the learned Lwhyd's Ar- 
transcribed for publication from a MS. chsBoI. Brit. p. 265. And Borlase's Com- 
temp. Edward II. Mr. Croft, in his <* Ex- wall, Nat. Hist. p. 295. edit 1758. 
cerpta Antiqua," has given a specimen of ' When our Henry the Sixth entered 

the Corpus Christi pageant as it was' ex- Paris in 1431, in the quality of king of 
hibited at York in the thirteenth century. France, he was met at the gate of St De- 
— Price.] What was the antiquity of nis by a Dumb Shew, representing the 
the (hiary-Miracle, or Miracle-Play in birth of the Virgin Mary and her mar- 
Cornwall, has not been determined. In riage, the adoration of the three kings, 
the Bodleian library «re three Comlfth in- and the parable of the sower. This page- 
terludes, written on parchment B. 40. Art. ant indeed was given by the French : but 


toVIb, perhaps of the reign of king John, and consequently about the 
year 1200» seems to place the rudiments of histrionic exhibition^ I mean 
of general subjects, at a much higher period among us than b com- 
monly imagined. It is in these words: ** Nicola uxor Gerardi de Can*- 
yill, reddit computum de centum marcis pro maritanda Matildi filia sua 
cuicunque voluerit, exceptis Mimicis regis ^*' — ** Nicola, wife of Gerard 
of Canville, accounts to the king for one hundred marks for the privi- 
lege of marrying his [her] daughter Maud to whatever person she 
pleases, the king's mimics excepted." Whether or no mimici regis 
are here a sort of players kept in the king's household for diverting 
the court at stated seasons, at least with performances of mimicry and 
masquerade, or whether they may not strictly imply Minstrblls, I 
cannot indeed determine. Yet we may remark, that M imicus is never 
used for Mimus, that certain theatrical entertainments called masca- 
rades, as we shall see below, were very antient among the French, and 
that these Mimici appear, by the context of this article, to have been 
persons of no very respectable character'. I likewise find in the ward- 
robe-rolls of Edward the Third, in the year 1348, an account of the 
dresses, ad faciendum Ludos elamini regis adfestum NataUs damim 
celebratos apud GtUdeford^ for furnishing the plays or sports of the 
king, held in the castle of Guildford at the feast of Christmas s. In 
these LuDi, says my record, were expended eighty tunics of buckram 
of various colours, forty-two visours of various similitudes, that is, 
fourteen of the faces of women, fourteen of the faces of men with 
beards, fourteen of heads of angels, made with silver ; twenty-eight 
crests^, fourteen mantles embroidered with heads of dragons ; fourteen 
white tunics wrought with heads and wings of peacocks, fourteen heads 
of swans with wings, fourteen tunics painted with eyes of peacocks, 
fourteen tunics of English linen painted, and as many tunics embroider- 
ed with stars of gold and silver ^ , In the rolls of the wardrobe of king 

the readers of Hollingshead will recollect ' Comp. J. Cooke» Provisoris Magnse 

many instances immediately to our pur- Garderob. ab ann. 21 Edw. I. ad ann. 33. 

po«e. See Monstrelet apud Fonten. Hitt. Membr. iz. 

Theatr. at supr. p. 37. ^ I do not perfectly understand the 

* Rot. incert. ut videtur Reg. Johann. Latin original in the place, Tis. '* xiiy 

apud'MSS. James, Bibl. Bodl. vil. p. 104. Create* cum tibiis reversatitt et calceatis, 

[In the Gentleman's Magasine for xii^ Creates cum montibus et cuniculis." 

January 1785, it has been ingeniously Among the stufis are ''viii pelles de 

suggested that for rnhntcie regie, we should Roan." In the same wardrobe rolls, a 

probably read " inimicis regis,'* and that little above, I find this entry, which re- 

the king's enemies were the persons ex- lates to the same festival : " Et ad fa- 

cepted. — Park.] [After this volume was ciendum vi pennecellos pro tubis et cla- 

printe4> the Editor was politely informed rionibus contra festum natalis domini, de 

by the Rev. James Dallaway, that the ori- syndonc, vapulatos de armis regis quar- 

ginal roll reads " inimicis regis," and that tellatis." Membr. ix. 

the phrfte was a common office form. ' Some perhaps may think, that these 

Warton was misled by an erroneous tran- were dresses for a Masque at court. If 

script in the Bodleian library. — Price.] so, Hollingshead is mistaken in saying, 

' John of Salisbury, who wrote about that in the year 1512, ''on the daie of 

1 160, says, ** Histriones et mimi non Epiphanie at night, the king with eleven 

possant recipere sacram communionem." others were disguised after the manner of 

Folicrat i. 8. Italic called a maske, a thing net seen be- 


Richard the Second, in the year 1391) there is also an entry which 
seems to point out a sport of much the same nature. *'Pro wl- coifs 
de tela linea pro hominibus de lege contrafactis pro ludo regis tem- 
pore natalis domini anno xii^.** That is, " for twenty-one linen coifs 
for coupterfeiting men of the law in the king's play at Christmas." It 
will be sufficient to add here on the last record, that the Serjeants at 
law at their creation, antiently wore a cap of linen, lawn, or silk, tied 
under the chin: this was to distinguish them from the clergy who had 
the tonsure. Whether in both these instances we are to understand a 
dumb shew, or a dramatic interlude with speeches, I leave to the ex- 
amination of those who are professedly making enquiries into the hi- 
story of our stage from its rudest origin. But that plays on general 
subjects were no uncommon mode of entertainment in the royal pa- 
laces of England, at least at the commencement of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, may be collected from an old memoir of shews and ceremonies 
exhibited at Christmas, in the reign of Henry the Seventh, in the pa^ 
lace of Westminster. It is in the year 1489. ^^This cristmas I saw 
no disguysings, and but right few Plays. But ther was an abbot of 
Misrule, that made much sport, and did right well his office." And 
again, *' At nyght the kynge, the qweene, and my ladye the kynges 
moder, cam into the Whitehall, and ther hard a Play^." 

As to the religious dramas, it was customary to perfonn this species 
of play on holy festivals in or about the churches. In the register of 
William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, under the year 1384, an 
episcopal injunction is recited, against the exhibition of Spectacui^a 
in the cemetery of his cathedral"*. Whether or no these were dramatic 
Spbctaclbs, I do not pretend to decide. In several of our old scrip- 
tural plays, we see some of the scenes directed to be represented ctan 

fare in Bngland, They were apparelled " Registr. lib. iii. f. 88. " Canere 

in garments long and broad wrought all (Cantilenas, ludibriorum speetacula facere, 

with goldy with visors and caps of gbid/' saltationes et alios ludos inhonestos fire- 

Sfc Hist vol. iii. p. 812. a. 40. Besides, quentare, choreas/' &c. So in Statat. 

these maskings most probably came to the Eccles. NannetL A.D. 1405. No "mi- 

EngUshi if from Italy, through the me- mi vel joculatores, ad morutra larvarum 

dium of France. HoUingshead also con- in ecclesia et cemeterio," are permitted, 

tradicts himself: for in another place he Marten. Thesaur. Anecd. iv. p. 993. And 

seems to allow their existence under our again, " Joculatores, histrioncsysaltatrices, 

Henry the Fourth, A.D. 1400, "The in ecclesia, cemeterio, vel porticu.- 

oonspirators ment upon the sudden to aliquae chorese." Statut Synod. Ecdes. 

have set upon the liing in the castell of Leod. A.D. 1287. apud Marten, ut supr. 

Windsor, under colour of a oiojAreormum- p. 846. Fohtenelle says, that antiently 

merie" &c. ibid- p« 515. b. 50. Strype among the French, comedies were acted 

says there were Pageaunta exhibited in after divine service, in the church-yard. 

London when queen Eleanor rode through " Au sortir du sermon ces bonfies gens 

the city to her coronation, in 1236. And alloient a la Comedies c'est a dire, quails 

for the victory over the Scots by Edward changeoint de Sermon." Hist.*Theatr. 

the First in 1298. Anecdot. Brit. Topo- ut supr. p. 24. But these were scriptural 

graph, p. 725. Lond. edit. 1768. comedies, and they were constantly pre- 

^ Comp. Magn. Garderob. an. 14. Ric, ceded by a Benedicite, by way of pro- 

II. f. 193. b. logue. The French stage will occur again 

> Leiand. Coll. iii. Append, p. 256. below, 
edit. 1770, 


amiu et organise a common rubric in the miseal. That is, because the j 
were performed in a church where the choir assisted. There is a cu> 
rious passage in Lambarde's Topographical Dictionary written about 
the year 1570, much to our purpose, which I am therefore tempted to 
transcribe °. *' In the dayes of ceremonial religion, they used at Wyt- 
ney (in Oxfordshire) to set fourthe yearly in maner of a shew, or in- 
teriude, the resurrection of our Lord, &c. For the which purposes, 
and the more lyvely heareby to exhibite to the eye the hole action of 
the resurrection, the priestes garnished out certain smalle puppettes, 
representing the persons of Christe, the watchmen, Marie, and others ; 
amongest the which, one bare the parte of a wakinge watchman, who 
espiinge Christe to arise, made a continual noyce, like to the sound 
that is caused by the metynge of two styckes, and was thereof com- 
monly called Jaek Snacker of Wytnet/. The like toye I myself, beinge 
then a childe, once sawe in Poule s churche at London, at a feast of 
Whitsuntyde; wheare the comynge downe of the Holy Gost was set 
forthe by a white pigion, that was let to fly out of a hole that yet is to 
be sene in the mydst of the roofe of the greate ile, and by a longe 
censer which descendinge out of the same place almost to the verie 
grounde, was swinged up and downe at suche a lengthe, that it reach- 
ed with thone swepe almost to the west-gate of the churche, and with 
the other to the quyre staires of the same; breathinge out over the 
whole churche and companie a most pleasant perfume of such swete 
thinges as burned therein. With the like doome shewes also, they 
used everie where to furnish sondrye parts of their church service, as 
by their spectacles of the nativitie, passion, and ascension," &c. 

This practice of acting plays in churches was, at last grown to such 
an enormity, and attended with such inconvenient consequences, that 
in the reign of Henry the Eighth, Bonner, bishop of I^ndon, issued a 
proclamation to the clergy of his diocese, dated 1542, prohibiting <<all 
maner of common plays, games, or interludes to be played, set forth, 
or declared, within their churches, chapels," &c.** This fashion seems 
to have remained even after the Reformation, and when perhaps pro- 
fane stories had taken place of religious i^'. Archbishop Grindal, in the 
year 156S, remonstrated against the danger of interludes: complaining 
that players " did, especially on holy days, set up bills inviting to their 
play V From this ecclesiastical source of the modern drama, plays 
continued to be acted on Sundays so late as the reign of Elizabeth, and 
even till that of Charles the First, by the choristers or singing-boys of 
Saint Paul's cathedral in London, and of the royal chapel. 

■ Pag. 459. edit 1730. 4to. of God, and that, throughout England," 

** Burnet. Hist Ref. i. Coll. Rec. pag. &c. This abuse of acting plays in churches 

225. is mentioned in the canon of James the 

' From a puritanical pamphlet entitled First, which forbids also the profanation 

The third Blast of Retrait from Plaies, of churches by court-leetSy&c The canons 

&C. 1580. 12mo. p. 77. Where the au- were given in the year 1603. 

thor says, the players are " permitted to * Scrype's Grindall, p. 82. 

publish their mamettrie in everie temple 


It is ceitidii, that these Miracle-plays were the first of our drama* 
tic exhibitions. But as these pieces frequently required the introduc- 
tion of allegorical characters, such as Charity, Sin, Death, Hope, Faith, 
or the like, and as the common poetry of the times, especially among 
the French, began to deal much in allegory, at length plays were form- 
ed entirely consisting of such personifications. These Were called Mo- 
ralities. The miracle-plays, or Mysteries, were totally destitute 
of invention or plan : they tamely represented stories according to the 
letter of scripture, or the respective legend. But the Moralities in- 
dicate dawnings of the dramatic art: they contain some rudiments of a 
plot, and even attempt to delineate characters, and to paint manners* 
From hence the gradual transition to real historical personages was 
natural and obvious. It may be also observed, that many licentious 
pleasantries were sometimes introduced in these religious representa- 
tions. This might imperceptibly lead the way to subjects entirely pro- 
fane, and to comedy, and perhaps earlier than is imagined. In a my- 
stery' of the Massacre of the Holy Innocents, part of the subject 
of a sacred drama given by the English fathers at the famous council 
of Constance, in the year 1417", a low buffoon of Herod's court is in- 
troduced, desiring of his lord to be dubbed a knight, that he might be 
properly qualified to go on the adventure of killing the mothers of the 
children of Bethlehem. This tragical business is treated with the most 
ridiculous levity. The good women of Bethlehem attack our knight- 
errant with their spinning-wheels, break his head with their distafis, 
abuse him as a coward and a disgrade to chivalry, and send him home 
to Herod as a recreant champion with much ignominy. It is in an 
enlightened age only that subjects of scripture history would be sup- 
porte<l with proper dignity. But then an enlightened age would not 
have chosen such subjects for theatrical exhibition. It is certain that 
our ancestors intended no sort of impiety by these monstrous and un- 
natural mixtures. Neither the writers nor the spectators saw the im- 
propriety, nor paid a separate attention to the comic and the serious 
part of these motley scenes; at least they were persuaded that the 
solemnity of the subject covered or excused all incongruities. They 
had no just idea of decorum, consequently but little sense of the ridi- 
culous: what appears to us to be the highest burlesque, on them would 
have made no sort of impression. We must not wonder at this, in an 
age when courage, devotion, and ignorance, com^^osed the character of 
European manners; when the knight going to a tournament, first in- 
voked his God, then his mistress, and afterwards proceeded with a safe 
conscience and great resolution to engage his antagonist. In these 
Mysteries I have sometimes seen gross and open obscenities. In a 
play of the Old and New Testament^ Adam and Eve are both exhibited 

' MSS. Digb. 134. Bibl. Bodl. [Printed ' « MSS. Harl. 2013, &c. Exhibited at 

by the Abbotsford Club, 4to. 1836.— M.] Cheater in the year 1327, at the expence 

• L'Enfant. ii. 140. of the different trading companie« of that 

8BCT. VI.] 



00 ike stage naked, and convening about their nakedneas : this very 
pertinently introduces the next scene, in which they have coverings of 
fig-leaves. This extraordinary spectacle was beheld by a numerous as- 
sonbly of both sexes with great composure : they had the authority of 
scripture for such a representation, and they gave matters just as they 

dty. Tke Fall rf Lme^er by the Tumen. 
The CreatUm by the Drapers. The De- 
bige by the Dyers. Abraham, Melchhe- 
dukf and Lot by the Barbers. Motet, 
BaHak, and Baliuim by the Cappers. Tfte 
Salutatiom and Nativity by the Wrightes. 
The Shepherds feeding their Jlockt by night 
hj the Painters and Glaziers. Tlte three 
Kings by the Vintners. The Oblation rf 
the three Kings by the Mercers. The 
KUUng «f ihe Innocents by the Goldsmiths. 
The Fur^ealion by the Blacksmiths. Ttte 
Temptation by the Batchers. The last 
Supper by the Bakers. The BUndmen and 
Laxams by the Glovers. Jesus and the 
Lepers by the Corvesarys. Christ* • Pas- 
sion by the Bowyers, Fletchers, and Iron- 
mongers. Descent into Hell by the Cooks 
and Innkeepers. The Resurrection by the 
Skinners. The Ascension by the Taylors. 
The election of S. Mathias, Sending rfthe 
hsly ghost, ifc, by the Fishmongers. An- 
techrist by the Clothiers. Day of Judg- 
ment by the Websters. The reader will 
perhaps smile at some of these Combina- 
tions. This IS the substance and order 
of the former part of the play: — God en- 
ters creating the world : he breathes life 
into Adam, leads him 7nto Paradise, and 
opens his side while sleeping. Adam 
and Eve appear naked and not ashamed, 
and the old serpent enters lamenting his 
fall. He converses with Eve. She eats 
of the forbidden fruit and gives part to 
Adam. They propose, according to the 
stage-direction, to make themselves sub- 
ligacula afoliis quibus tegamus Pudenda, 
Cover their nakedness with leaves, and 
converse with God. God*B curse. The 
serpent exit hissing. They are driven 
from Paradise by four angels and the che- 
rubim with a flaming sword. Adam ap- 
pears digging the ground, and Eve spin- 
ning. Their children Cain and Abel enter : 
The former kills his brother. Adam's la- 
mentatioo. Cain is banished, &c. 

[A few brief extracts from this collec- 
tion will be found in the second volume 
of Mr. Stnitfs " Manners and Customs of 
the People of England," and in Mr. Ly- 
sons' Magna Britannia (co. Cheshire). See 
also Mr. Umierod*s Hist, of Cheshire, vol. i. 
p. 296. — The contradictions in the Chester 
registers, which record the exhibition of 
theie plays, have caused a diversity of 
opinion as to the period of their appear- 

ance, and the name of their author. If Sir 
John Amwaie were mayor of Chester in 
the year 1269, "in [which] yere," it is 
said, " the Whitson plays were invented in 
Chester by one RondoU Higden, a monk 
in the Abby of Chester," (HarL MS. 
2125. f. 272 verso) it is very evident that 
they could -not have been written by the 
same Randall Higden who continued the 
Polychronicon to 1344, and whose death 
is placed by Bale in 1363. There are, 
however, some suspicious circumstances 
attending the document which contains 
this statement, that render its accuracy 
extremely questionable. It professes to be 
a catalogue of Mayors from the 24th of 
Henry III. which however it dates in the 
year 1257 — a trifling error of seventeen 
years, — it acknowledges a difference of 
chronology from all preceding registers, 
which it Justifies by the stale device of 
having consulted " true and ancient deeds;'* 
and it attempts to invalidate the accounts 
generally received, by saying they were 
all compiled so late as the reign of Ed- 
ward III. The document itself is of the 
seventeenth century ; and as the Chester 
antiquaries have been unable to adduce 
any collateral testimonial favouring its au- 
thenticity, it may not be too much to af- 
firm, that the whole account bears strong 
internal marks of being a blundering at- 
tempt to fill a vacancy in the Chester an- 
nals between the reigns of Henry and 
Edward. The existence of one John Am- 
waie at this period (noticed by Mr. Orme- 
rod), who be it observed is styled neither 
knight nor mayor of Chester, can hardly 
be considered as corroborative evidence. 
If we reject the authority of this catalogue, 
the chronological discrepancies become 
trifling. Sir John Amwaie and Randall 
Higden are then made contemporaries; 
and the later traditions — for such they 
seem to be — may easily be reconciled with 
historical facts. In Geo. Bellen's Cata- 
logue of the Mayors and Sherifls of Ches- 
ter, from 1317 to 1622, (HarU MS. 2125. 
f. 197.) we find it stated under the year 
1327, when Sir John Amwaie was mayor: 
The Whitson playes first made by one 
Dan Randall [Higgenett] a moonke of 
Chester Abbey [who was thrise at Rome 
before he could obtayn leave of the Pope 
to have them in the English tongc] The 
passages within brackets appear to be the 



[8BCT. VJ« 

found them in the third chapter of Genesis. It would have been ab- 
solutely heresy to have departed from the sacred text in personating the 
primitive appearance of our first parents whom the spectators so nearly 
resembled in simplicity : and if this had not been the case, the dramar 
tists were ignorant what to reject and what to retain. 

In the mean time, profane dramas seem to have been known in 
France at a much earlier period^. Du Cange gives the following pic- 
ture of the king of France dining in public before the year 1300. 
During this ceremony, a sort of farces or drolls seems to have been ex- 
hibited. All the great officers 'of the crown and the household, says he, 
were present The company was entertained with the instrumental 
music of the minstrells, who played on the kettle-drum, the flagellet^, 
the comet, the Latin cittern, the Bohemian flute, the trampet, the 
Moorish cittern, and the fiddle. Besides there were '* des Farceurs, 
des jongleurs, et des plaisantins, qui divertisseoient les compagnies 

mystic number three, savour strongly of 
traditionary exaggeration. Perhaps in this 
we have the counterpart to the narradve 
in the proclamation ; for the equity of tra- 
dition rather delights in awarding reci- 
procal compensations, than in restoring to 
the contending claimants their original 
property. — Prick.] 

" John of Salisbury, a writer of the 
eleventh century, speaking of the common 
diversions of his time, says, " Nostra setas 
prolapsa ad fabulas et qusevis inania, non 
modo aures et cor prostituit vanitati," &c. 
Policrat.!. 8. An ingenious French writer, 
Mons. Duclos, thijiks that Plats are here 
implied. By the word Fabula, says he, 
something more is signified than dances, 
gesticulation, and simple dialogue. FabU 
properly means composition, and an ar- 
rangement of things which constitute an 
action. Mem. Acad. Inscr. zvii. p. 224. 
4to. But perhaps fabula has too vagne 
and general a sense, especially in its pre- 
sent combination with quavU inania, to 
bear so precise and critical an interpreta^ 
tion. I will add, that if this reasoning 
be true, the words will be equally appli- 
cable to the Englitih stage. — At Constan- 
tinople it seems that the sUge flourished 
much under Justinian and Theodora, about 
the year 540. For in the Basilical codea 
we have the oath of an actress fiij ava^ 
X^p€ip rtis vopveias. Tom. vii. p. 682. 
edit. Fabrot. Graeco-Lat The antient 
Greek fathers, particularly St Chryso- 
stom, are full of declamation against the 
drama; and complain, that the people 
heard a comedian with much more plea- 
sure than a preacher of the Gospel. 

^ I believe, a sort of pipe. This is the 
French word, via. Demy-canon. Sec Car- 
pent. Du Cange, Gl. Lat. i. p. 760. 

additions of a later hand. In the Harl. 
MS. 1948. t 48, it is also said, under the 
year 1339, — that one Randoll Higden, a 
monk in the Abbaye of Che<ter, did trans- 
late the same (Whitson playea) into En- 
glishe. The plays accord with this decla- 
ration, and attribute the authorship to one 
Don Rondall. A proclamation bound up 
with them, and bearing date 24th Henry 
VIII. (1533) assigns their first appearance 
to themayoralty of John Arnwaie, though 
it contains the following notice of the 
author : "a play . . . was devised and made 
by one Sir Henry Frances sometyme 
Moonck of this monastery dissolved who 
obtayning and gat of Clemant then bu- 
shop of Rome a 1 000 dayes of pardon and 
of the bushop of Chester at that tyme 40 
dayes of pardon ... to every person re- 
sorting in peaceable maner with good de- 
votion to heare and see the sayd playes," 
&c. — In all, these accounts the tradition 
is consistent, that the mysteries origi- 
nated during the mayoralty of Sir John 
Arnwaie ; and, with rhe exception of the 
last- mentioned document, that they were 
written by Don Randall or Randoll Hig- 
den. To this assertion of the proclama- 
tion, we can oppose the decided testimony 
of the prologue to the plays ; and Mr. Ly- 
sons has suggested an easy solution of the 
difficulty, by supposing Frances to have 
been instrumental only in procuring the 
indulgence from Pope Clement This, if 
obtained of Clement VI. (as there is every 
reason to believe), must have occurred 
between the years 1342-1352; and the 
distance of time would account for the 
confusion of his labours with those of Hig- 
den. There is nothing improbable in tlie 
statement that Higden translated these 
plays from the Latin; though his journeys 
to Rome, enshrined as ' they are in the 




par leur faceties et par leur Comedies, pour Fentretien." He adds, 
that many noble families in France were entirely ruined by the pro- 
digious expences lavished on those performera'. The annals of France 
▼ery early mention buffoons among the minstrells at these solemni- 
ties; and more particularly that Louis le Debonnaire, who reigned 
about the year 830, never laughed aloud, not even when at the most 
magnificent festivals, players, buffoons, minstrels, singers, and harpers, 
attended his tabled. In some constitutions given to a cathedral church 
in France, in the year 1280, the following clause occurs. '^Nullus 
sPECTACULis aliquibus quee aut in NuptiU aut in Scents exhibentur, 
intersit*." Where, by the way, the word Scenis seems to imply some- 
what of a professed stage, although the establishment of the first French 
theatre is dated not before the year 1398*. The play of Robin and 
Marian is said to have been performed by the school-boys of Angiers, 
according to annual custom, in the year 1392^ A royal carousal given 

interlocutors would alone constitute a 

' Dissertat Join v. p. 161. 
y Ibid. 

* Mont&uc. Cat Manuscrip. p. U58. 
See also Marten. Thesaur. Anecd. torn. iv. 
p. 506. Stat.*Synod. A.D. 1468. " Lar- 
varia ad Nuptias/' &c Stowe, in his 
Survey of London, mentions the practice 
of acting plays at weddings. 

* [A modem French antiquary (M. 
Roquefort) has claimed a much higher an- 
tiquity for the establishment or rather ori- 
gin of the French stage ; though upon prin- 
ciples, it must be allowed, which have a 
decided tendency to confound all distinc- 
tions between the several kinds of poetic 
composition. The beautiful tale of Aucas- 
ain and Nicolette, is the corner stone upon 
which this theory reposes ; and which, as 
the narrative is interspersed with song, 
seems to have induced a belief, that the 
recitations were made by a single Trou- 
vere, and the poetry chaunted by a band 
of attendant minstrels. Admitting this to 
be the ca^e — yet for which no authority 
is offered — ^the approximation to dramatic 
composition is equally remote as when 
left in the hands of a solitary declaimer. 
Upon this ground every ballad, or ro- 
mantic tale, which is known to have been 
accompanied by music and the voice, 
might be styled ** a monument of theatric 
art;" and by analogy, the rhapsodists of 
Greece, who sang the Iliad at the public 
games, might be said to have "enacted 
the plays" of Homer. Nor is the argu- 
ment in favour of the Jeux-ptartis, or such 
iabliaux as the deux Bor dears ribaudt, in 
any degree more admissible. In all these 
pieces there is nothing more than a sim- 
ple interchange of opinion, whether ar- 
gmnentative or vituperative, without pre- 
tension to incident, fable, or development 
of character. Indeed, if a multiplicity of 

drama, the claim of Wolfram von Eschen- 
bach to be the founder of the German 
stage (as some of his countrymen have 
maintained) would be undeniable. In 
his " Krieg auf Wartburg," a singular 
mohument of early (1207) improvisatorial 
skill, the declaimers in the first part are 
six and in the second three Master or 
Minne-singers. But this poem, like the 
Tentont of the Troubadours, is a mere 
trial of poetical ingenuity, and bears a 
strong resemblance both in matter and 
manner to the Tomeyamens of the same 
writers. That it was not considered a 
play in earlier times, is clear from an illu- 
mination published by Mr. Docen ; where 
the actors in this celebrated contest are 
represented seated and singing together, 
and above them is this decisive inscrip- 
tion : Hie krieget mit sange HerrlValther 
von der Vogelweide^ &c. Here hataileth 
in songt &c However, should this theory 
obtain, Solomon, bishop of Constance in 
the tenth century, will perhaps rank as 
the earliest dramatist at present known : 
Metro primus et coram Regibus plerum- 
que pro ludicro cum aliia certator, Ek- 
kehardus de Casibus S. Galli, p. 49. — 

• The bpys were deguisiez, says the old 
French record: and they had among 
them un Fillette deiguisie. Carpent ubi 
supr. V.Robinet.Pentecoste. Our old 
character of Mayd Mxriam maybe hence 
illustrated. It seems to have been an early 
fashion in France for schoolboys to pre- 
sent these shews or plays. In an antient 
manuscript, under the year 1477, there 
is mentioned " Certaine Moralite, ou 
FAR(E,queIe8escolIiers de Pontoise avoit 
fait, ainsi qu*il est de couttume" Carpent. 
ubi supr, V. Moralitas. The Mystery 




by Charles the Fifth of France to the emperor Charies the Fourth, in 
the year 1378, was closed with the theatrical representation of the 
Conquest of Jerusalem hy Godfrey ofBulhigrh which was exhibited in 
the hall of the royal palace ^ This indeed was a subject of a religious 
tendency ; but not long afterwards, in the year 1395, perhaps before, 
the interesting story of Patient Grisilde appears to haye been acted 
at Paris. This piece still remains, and is entitled Le Mystere de Gri- 
sUdis, marquise de Saluce^. For all dramatic pieces were indiscrimi- 
nately called Mysteries, whether a martyr or a heathen god, whether 
saint Catharine or Hercules was the subject. 

In France the religious Mysteries, often called Piteaux, or Pi- 
toux, were certainly very fashionable, and of high antiquity : yet from 
any written evidence, I do not find them more antient than those of 
the English. In the year 1384, the inhabitants of the village of Aunay, 
on the Sunday after the feast of Saint John, played the Miracle of 
Theophilus, " ou quel Jeu avoit un personnage de un qui devoit getter 
d'un canon ^." In the year 1398, some citizens of Paris met at Saint 
Maur to play the Passion of Christ. The magistrates of Pftris, 
alarmed at this novelty, published an ordonnance, prohibiting them to 
represent ** aucuns jeux de personages soit de vie de saints ou autre- 


said to have been represented in 14S4, 
by the boys of Paris placed like statues 
against a wall, without speech or motion* 
at the entry of the duke of Bedford, re- 
gent of France. See i, de Paris, p. J 01. 
And Sauval, Ant. de Paris, ii. 101. 

[^Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion, the 
piece alluded to in the text, has been 
analysed by M. le Grand in the second 
volume of his ** Fabliaux et Contes." It 
is there called Le Jeu du Berger et de la 
Bergere, and by him attributed to Adan 
de le Hale, nicknamed le Bo^u d* Arras. 
In this he is followed by M. Meon, the 
editor of Barbazan's Fabliaux, who also 
ascribes to the same author a play called 
Le Jeu du Mariage. M. Roquefort cata- 
logues " Robin et Marion" among the 
works of Jehan Bodel d' Arras, the author 
of three plays called Le Jeu de Pelerin, 
Le Jeu d'Adam ou de la Feuillie, Le Jeu 
de St, Nicholas ; and a mystery called Le 
Miracle de Theophile, This latter may be 
the same referred to below. Adan de la 
Hale appears to have lived in the early 
part of the thirteenth century (Roquefort, 
p. 103.), and Jehan Bodel during the reign 
of St. Louis (1226-70). These perhaps 
are the earliest specimens extant of any 
thing resembling dramatic composition in 
the French language. It is true M. de la 
Rue (Archseol. vol. xiv.) has noticed an 
early drama, which from finding it bound 
up with a sermon written by Langton, 

archbishop of Canterbury (in 1207), be is* 
disposed to attribute to that prelate. Bttt 
the outline he has given of its contents 
clearly shows it to be nothing more than 
a dramatic disposition of the same argu« 
ments, which fill the " Chateau d' Amour" 
quoted above. We have there seen, that 
the author professes to follow an original 
of some kind by Grossetestc, bishop of 
Lincoln, Langton's contemporary; and 
unless we choose to reject this statement 
as fictitious, M. de la Rue*s conjecture as 
to the author of the drama becomes more 
than doubtful. The primate, who was a 
man of considerable learning, would hardly 
have dramatised for vulgar readers the 
mystic rhapsodies of hu erudite suffiragan. 
— Price.] 

^ Felib. torn. ii. p. 681. 

^ It has been printed, more than once* 
in the black letter. Beauchamps, p. 110. 

* Carpentier, SuppL Du Cange Lat GL 

y. LUDUS. 

[This story of a man who sold himaelf 
to the Devil and was redeemed by the 
Virgin to whom he had recommended him- 
self, occurs in a collection of miracles put 
into verse by Guatier de Quensi, a Frencb 
poet of the 13th century ; from whose work 
and others of the same kind an abridge- 
ment was printed at Paris in the beginning 
of the 16th century. This was made by 
Jean le Conte, a friar minor. Quensi's 
work is among the Harl. MSS. bo. 4400. 
— Douce.] 


ment,** without the royal licence, which was soon afterwards obtained*. 
In the year 1486, at Anjou, ten pounds were paid towards supporting 
the chiurges of acting the Passion of Christ, which was represented 
by masks, and, as I suppose, by persons hired for the purpose'. The 
chaplains of Abbeville, in the year 1455, gave four pounds and ten shil- 
lings to the Pi^YERS of the Passions. But the French Mysteries 
were chiefly performed by the religious communities, and some of their 
Fetes almost entirely consisted of a dramatic or personated shew. At 
the Feast of Asses, instituted in honour of Baalam's Ass, the clergy 
walked on Christmas day in procession, habited to represent the prophets 
and others. Moses appeared in an alb and cope, with a long beard and 
rod. David had a green vestment. .Raalam with an immense pair of 
spoiB, rode on a wooden ass, which inclosed a speaker. There were 
aJso six Jews and six Gentiles. Among other characters the poet Virgil 
was introduced as a gentile prophet and a translator of the Sibylline 
oracles. They thus moved in procession, chanting versicles, and con- 
versing in character on the nativity and kingdom of Christ, through 
the body of the church, till they came into the choir. Virgil speaks 
some Latin Jiexameters, during the ceremony, not out of his ^urth 
eclogue, but wretched monkish lines in rhyme. This feast was, I be- 
lieve, early suppressed^. In the year 1445, Charles the Seventh of 
France ordered the masters in Theology at Paris to forbid the ministers 
of the collegiate churches to celebrate at Christmas the Feast of Fools' 

* Beauchampsy ut supr. p. 90. This was Again, the Featt of Fools seems to be 
the first theatre of the French : the actors pointed at in Statut Senonens. A.D. 1445. 
were incorporated by the king, under the^ Instr. torn. xii. Gall. Christian. Coll. 90. 
title of the FraUrmty of the Passion of our " Tempore divini servitii larratoe et mon- 
Saviour, Beanch. ibid. The Jeu de per^ struosos vultus deferendo, cum vestibus 
sonages was a very common play of the mulierum, aut lenonum, aut histrionum, 
young boys in the larger towns, &c. Car- choreas in ecclesia et choro ejus ducendo/' 
pentier, ut supr. V. Personaoium. And &c. With the most immodest spectacles. 
Luous Persohao. At Cambray mention The nuns of some French convents are 
is made of theshewofa boy iorva^iMctffR said to have had Ludibria on St Mary 
ma*a in eoUo with drums, &c. Carpent. Magdalene's and other festivals, when 
ib. v. KALENDiB Januar. they wore the habits of seculars, and 

f <* Decern. libr. ex parte nationis, ad danced with them. Carpent ubi supr. 

onera supportanda hujus Misterii." Car- V. Kalends. There was the office of 

pent ut supr. V. Personaoium. Hex Stultorum in Beverley church, pro- 

* Carpent ut supr. V. LuDus. Who hibited 1391. Dugd. Mon.iii. Append. 7. 
adds, from an antient Computus, that [In the Constitutions of Robert Gros- 
three shillings were paid by the ministers setest bishop of Lincoln, is the following 
of a church, in the year 1537, for parch- prohibition : '*Ezecrabilem etiam consue- 
ment, for writing Luous Resurrec- tudinem quse consuevit in quibusdam ec- 
T10NIS Domini. clesiis observari de faciendo Festo Stulto- 

^ See vol. i. p. 204. rum speciali authoritate rescripti Aposto- 

> Marten. Anecd. torn. i. col. 1 804. See lici penitus inhibemus ; ne de domo ora- 

also Belet. de Divin. Offlc. cap. 72. And tionis liat domus ludibrii," &c. See Brown, 

GussanviU. post Not ad Petr. Blesens. Fascicul. rerum ezpetendarum, ii. 412. 

Felibien confounds La Fete de Fans et la And in his 32nd Letter, printed in the 

Pete de Sotise, The latter was an enter- same collection, ii. 331, aiter reciting that 

tainment of dancing called Les Saultes, the house of God is not to be turned into 

and thence corrupted into Soties, or Sotise. a house of buffoonery, &c. he adds : " Qua- 

See Mem. Acad. Inscript zvii. 225, 226. propter vobis mandamus in virtute obe- 

See also Probat Hist Antissiodor. p. 3 1 0. dientise finniter iiyungentes, quatenus Fe«- 




in their churches, where the clergy danced in masques and antic dresses, 
and exhibited plusieurs nwcqueries spedacks publics, de leur corps <fe- 
guisementSf farces, rigmereis, with various enormities shocking to de- 
cency. In France as well as England it was customary to celebrate 
the feast of the boy-bishop. In all the collegiate churches of both na^ 
tions, aboiit the feast of Saint Nicholas, or the Holy Innocents*, one of 
the children of the choir completely apparelled in the episcopal vest- 
ments, with a mitre and crosier, bore the title and state of a bishop, and 
exacted canonical obedience from his fellows, who were dressed like 
priests. They took possession of the church, and performed all the 
ceremonies and offices^, the mass excepted, which might have been 
celebrated by the bishop and his prebendaries^. In the statutes of the 
archiepiscopal cathedral of Tulles, given in the year 1497, it is said, 
that during the celebration of the festival of the boy-bishop, '* Mora- 
lities were presented, and shews of Miracles, with farces and other 
sports, but compatible with decorum. — After dinner they exhibited, 
without their masks, but in proper dresses, such farces as they were 
masters of, in different parts of the city^" It is probable that the 
same entertainments attended the solemnisation of tiiis ridiculous fes- 
tival in England"*: and from thb supposition some critics may be in- 

tum Stultorum, cum sit Tanitate plenum et 
voluptatibus ipurcum, Deo odibile et dee* 
monibos amabile, de c«tero in eccleBia 
Lincoln, die ▼enerands solennitatis dr- 
cumdsionis Domini nullatenus permittatis 
fieri." — DoucB.] 

* [This feast was probably celebrated 
on St. Nicholas's day, on account of his be- 
ing the patron saint of children. See his 
legend, printed at Naples, 1645. 4to. — 

i In the statutes of Eton-college, given 
1441, the Episcofus Puerorum is or- 
dered to perform divine service on St. 
Nicholas's day. Ruhr. xxzi. In the sta- 
tutes of Winchester-college, given 1380, 
PuERi, that is the boy-bishop and his fel- 
lows, are permitted on Innocent's-day, to 
execute all the sacred offices in the chapel, 
according to the use of the church of Sa- 
nim. Ruhr. xxix. This strange piece of 
religious mockery flourished greatly in Sa- 
lisbury cathedral. In the old statutes of 
that church there is a chapter De Episco- 
po CHORI8TARU1C : and their Procetno- 
naie gives a long and minute account of the 
whole ceremony, edit. Rothom. 1555. 

^ This ceremony was abolished by a 
proclamation, no later than 33 Hen. VIII. 
Brit. Mus. MSS. Cott Tit B. 1. f. 208. In 
the inventory of the treasury of York ca- 
thedral, taken in 1530, we have " Item una 
mitra parva cum petris pro episcopo pue- 
rorum," &c Dugd. Moni^t. ill. 169. 170. 
See also 3 1 3. 3 1 4. 1 77. 279. See also Dugd. 

Hist. St. Paul's, p. 205. 206. where he is 
called EpiscopusParvulorum. Seealso 
Anstis Ord. Gart. ii. 309. where, instead of 
NihUentU, read NicoUntU, or Nicola- 


1 Statut. Eccles. Tullens. apud Carpent 
Suppl. Lat GL Du Gang. V. KALENDie. 

^ It appears that In En^and, the boy- 
bishop with his companions went about to 
different parts of the town; at least visited 
the other religious houses. As in Rot 
Comp. Coll. Winton. A.D. 1461. *'In Dat, 
episcopo Nicolatensi." This I suppose was 
one of the children of the choir of the 
neighbouring cathedral. In the statutes 
of the collegiate church of St Mary Otte-^ 
ry, founded by bishop Grandison in 1337, 
there is this passage: "Item statuimus, 
quod nuUus canonicus, vicarius, vel se- 
cundarius, pueros choristas in festo sanc- 
torum Innocentium extra Parochiam de 
Otery trahant, aut eis licentiam vagandl 
concedant." cap. 50. MS. Registr. Priorat 
S. Swithin. Winton. quat 9. In the ward- 
robe-rolls of Edward III. an. 12. we have 
this entry, which shows that our mock- 
bishop and his chapter sometimes ex- 
ceeded their adopted clerical commission, 
and exercised the arts of secular enter- 
tainment " Episcopo puerorum eccle- 
siae de Andeworp cantanti coram domino 
rege in camera sua in festo sanctorum In- 
nocentium, de dono ipsius dom. regis, 
xiii*. y\d:* 


clined to deduce the practice of our plays being acted by the choir- 
boys of St. Paul's church, and the chapel-royal, which continued, as I 
before observed, till Cromwells usurpation. The English and French 
stages mutually throw light on eaclf other's history. But perhaps it 
will be thought, that in some of these instances I have exemplified in 
nothing more than farcical and gesticulatory representations. Yet even 
these traces should be attended to. In the mean time we may observe 
upon the whole, that the modem drama had its foundation in our re- 
ligion, and that it was raised and supported by the clergy. The truth 
is, the members of the ecclesiastical societies were almost the only per- 
sons who could read, and their numbers easily furnished performers : 
they abounded in leisure, and their very relaxations were religious. 

I did not mean to touch upon the Italian stage : but as so able a 
judge as Riccoboni seems to allow that Italy derived her theatre from 
those of France and England, by way of an additional illustration of 
the antiquity of the two last, I will here produce one or two Miracle- 
Plays, acted much earlier in Italy than any piece mentioned by thai 
ingenious writer, or by Crescimbeni. In the year 1298, on *'the feast 
of Pentecost, and the two following holidays, the representation of the 
Plat of Christ, that is of his passion, resurrection, ascension, judg- 
ment, and the mission of the holy ghost, was performed by the clergy 
of Civita Vecchia, in curia domini patriarchs Austria: civitatis honO" 
rifice et laudabiliter^" And again, '*In 1304, the chapter of Civita 
Vecchia exhibited a Play of the creation of our first parents, the an- 
nanciation of the virgin Mary, the birth of Christ, and other passages 
of sacred scripture^." In the mean time, those critics who contend 
for the high antiquity of the Italian stage, may adopt these instances 
as new proofs in defence of tliat hypothesis. 

In this transient view of the origin and progress of our drama, which 
was incidentally suggested by the mention of Baston's supposed Co- 
medies, I have trespassed upon future periods. But I have chiefly done 
this for the sake of connection, and to prepare the mind of the reader 
for other anecdotes of the history of our stage, which will occur in the 
course of our researches, and are reserved for their respective places. 
I could have enlarged what is here loosely thrown together, with many 
other remarks and illustrations : but I was unwilling to transcribe from 
the collections of those who have already treated this subject with great 
comprehension and penetration, and especially from the author of the 

■ Chron. Forojul. in Append, ad Monum. object of the Compagna del Om\faloM in- 

EccL Aquile}. pog. 30. col. 1. stituted at Rome in the year 1264, was to 

[An earlier record of the exhibition of represent the Mysteries "della Passione 

these miracle-plays in Italy will be found del Redentore." Tiraboschi, yol. iv. p. S43. 

in the Catalogo de' Podest& di Padova : —Price.] 

"In quest' anno (1243) fu fktta la rap- » Ibid, page 30. col. I. It is eitraor- 

prcsentaxiondella Passione eResurrccione dinary, that the Miracle-plays, even in 

di Christo nel Pra della Valle." Muratori, the churches, should not cease in Italy 

Script Rer. lul. v. 8. p. 365.— The chief till the year 1660. 


Supplement to the Translator's Preface of Jarvig's Don Qaixote p. I 
claim no other merit from this digression, than that of having collected 
some new anecdotes relating to the early state of the English and French 
stages, the original of both which is intimately connected, from books 
and manuscripts not easily found, nor often examined. These hints 
may perhaps prove of some service to those who have lei^iure and in- 
clination to examine the subject with more precision. 


Chanu^er of ike Reign of Edioard the Third. Hampoles Pricke of 


Edward the Third was an illustrious example and patron of chivalry. 
His court was the theatre of romantic elegance. I have examined the 
annual rolls of his wardrobe, which record various articles of costly 
stuffs delivered occasionally for the celebration of his tournaments ; 
such as standards, pennons, tunics, caparisons, with other splendid fur- 
niture of the same sort : and it appears that he commanded these so- 
lemnities to be kept, with a magnificence superior to that of former 
ages, at Litchfield, Bury, Guildford, Eltham, Canterbury, and twice at 
Windsor, in little more than the space of ode year\ At his trium- 
phant return from Scotland, he was met by two hundred and thirty 
knights at Dunstable, who received their victorious monarch with a 
grand exhibition of these martial exercises. He established in the 
castle of Windsor a fraternity of twenty-four knights, for whom he 
erected a round table, with a round chamber still remaining, according 
to a similar institution of king Arthur^ Anstis treats the notion, that 

' See also Dr. Percy's very ingenious cellato cum argento, via. tunicam et scu- 
Essay on the Origin of the English Stage, turn operata cum dictamine Regis, 

* • Comp.J.Cooke,ProyisorisMagn.Gar. ^"^/^^^ the wythe swan 
derob. ab ann. 21 Edw. III. ad 7nn. 23. ^^ ^^^" *^«^ ^ ^~ '^^ ~»"- 
supr. citat I will give, as a specimen, this Et croparium, pectorale, testarium, et ar- 
ofiScer's accompt for the tournament at cenarium extencellata cum argento. Et 
Canterbury. " Et ad faciendum diversos ad parandum i. tunicam Regis, et 1. do- 
apparatus pro cotpore regis et suorum pro cam et capuciam cum c. garteriis pantis 
hastiludio Cantuariensi, an. reg. zzii. ubi cum boudes, barris, et pendentibus de ar- 
Rex dedit octo hernesia de syndone ynde gento. Et ad faciendum unum dubtettuna 
facta, et vapulata de armis dom. Stephani pro Rege de tela linea habente, drca ma- 
de Cosyngton militis, dominis principibus nicas ec fimbriam, unam borduram de pan- 
comitiLanca8tri8e,comitiSuffolciae,Johan- no longo viridi operatam cum nebulls et 
ni de Gray, Job. de Beauchamp, Roberto vineis de auro, et cum dictamine Regia, 
Maule, Joh. Chandos, et dom. Rogero de It i* as it is," Membr. xi. [A.D. 1349.] 
Beauchamp. Et ad faciendum unum bar- ** Walsing. p. 117. 
neshim de bokeram albo pro rege, exten< 


Here b Wille wold wite, if Witt couth teche hym^ 

And whather he be man or [woman *i,] this man [fain] wold ai^Ne^ 

And worehen as thei thre wolde, this is his entente. 

Syre Dowel dwellith, coth Witt, no^t a day hennes, 

In a castel that Ktndb' made, of four kynnes thinges; 

Of erthe and of aier is hit made, medied togedris 

With wynde and with watir, wittirly" enjoy ned. 

Kyuds hath closed therynne, craftely withalle, 

A lemman° that he loveth, lyk to hym silve; 

Anima she hatte, ac Envy hire hateth, 

A proud prikiere of Fraunce, princeps hujus mundi, 

And wold wynne hire away with wiles and he myghtte 

Ac Kyndb knoweth this wel, and kepith hire the bettre, 

[ And^*] doth hire with sire Dowel is duk of these marchisy 

DoBST is hire damsel, sire Dowbllys doughtter, 

To serve this lady leelyS bothe late and rathe i^. 

Dobbst is above bothe a bieschopis pere, 

That he bitt mot be donS he reuleth hem alle. 

Anima that lady, is lad by hb leryng, 

Ac the constable of that castel, that kepith al the watche, 

Is a wise knightte withalle, sire Inwitt he hatte ; 

And hath fyve fair sones bi his first wyf. 

Sire Seewel, and Saywel, and Huyrewel the hende. 

Sir Worchewel with thyn bond, a wyghtte man of strengthep 

And Sire Godfray Gowel, grete lordis forsothe 

These fyve ben y-sette, to save this lady Anima, 

Til Ktnde come or sende, to saven hire for ever. 

What [kins] thing is Kynde, coth I, canst thou me telle? 

Kynde, coth Witt, is a creatour, of al kynnes thynges ; 

Fadir and formour of alle, that ever was maked. 

And that is the gret God that bygynnyng hadde never. 

Angelis and al thyng am at his wille. 

Lord of lyf and of lyghtte, of blisse and of pejrne ; 

Ac man is hym most lik> of merke' and of sluufte. 

For thorgh the word that he spak, woxen forth bestes. 

And made [Adam"] likest [to] hym self one^ 

And Eve of his rib bon, withouten any [meane^]] ; 

For he was synguler hym self, and seid faciamus, 

[As**] who seith more mote herto, than my word one. 

My myghtte mote helpe now with my speche. 

Right as a lord shulde make letirs, and hym lackid perchement. 

Though he couthe write never so wel, [if he hadde a pen««] 

> natare. "* cunningly. ' early. ' must be done. 

■ paramour. • fair lady ; [loyally.] ' fashion; nmilitude. 

" noman. *» aa. *• man. ^ mede. " and. 

^ Crowley reads "if he had no pen"; which aaay be right 


The lettrc for al the lordship, I ly ve were never ymaked ; 

And 80 hit semyth by hym, as the book tellith, 

Ther hit seith, Dixit et facta sunt. 

He moste worche with his word, and his witt shewe, 

And in this maner wtis man made, thorgh myghtte of God almighty, 

With his word and workmanschip, and with l3rf to laste ; 

And thus God gaf h3rm a goste", of the godhede of hevene, 

And of his gret grace, grauntid hym blisse, 

And that is lyf that ay shal laste, to al [our] lynage aftir. 

And that is the [castel^] that Kyndb made, Caro it hatteth, 

And is as moch to mene, as man with a soule; 

And that he wroughtte with werke, and with word bothe* 

Thorgh myght of the mageste, man was ymakid 

Ynwyttes and Alwittes, closid ben therynne. 

For love of the ladie Anima» that lyf is ynempned^ ; 

[Over al in mans body she walketh and wandreth], 

Ac in the herte is [hir**] home, and [hir«»] most^ reste ; 

Ac [In] witt is in the heed, and to the herte he loketh, 

What Anima is lef or loth^, he ledith hire at his wille.^ — 

Thanne hadde Witt a wyf, that was bote dame Studie, 

That leve was of lire, and of lith bothe; 

She was wondurlich wrooth, Wytt me thus taughtte, 

And al staryng dame Studie stemliche seide : 

Wei art you wys, coth she to Wytt, eny wysdomes to telle, 

To flatereris or to folis, that frentik ben of witte; 

And blamed hym and banned' hym, and bad hym be stille, 

Wyth such wyse wordis to wissen eny sottis ; 

And seide, Noli mittere^ man, margerye perlis 

Amonges hogges, that have hawes at wille; 

Thei don but drevel theron, draf^ wer hem lever', 

Than al the precious per6 that in paradys wexeth*. 

I seie hit by suche, coth she, that shewen by hire werkes, 

That hem were lever^ lond, and lordship on erthe, 

[Or^o] richesse [or^*] rentis, and reste at hire wille, 

Than al the sothe sawes, that Salamon saide evere. 

Wysdom and wytt, now is nat worthe a kerse,^ 

But if he be carded with coveityse^ as clotherb kemben woUe ; 

Whoso can contreve desceytes, and conspire wronges 

And lede forth a love-day % to lette wyth treuthe. 

* spirit. 

^ named. 

^ they had rather. 

" greatest 

• unwilling. 

* not worth a straw. 

* cursed. 

<* covetousness. 

y See Draflf^sck. 

Chauc. Urr. p. 33. 

• lady. [A day appointed for the ami- 

V. 109J. 

cable settlement of differences was called 

■ rather. 

■ grow. 

a tow-rffly.— Tyrwhxtt.] 

2» catel. » his. 30 of. « and of. 


He that raeh cnftis can, to oomiBeil is depid oft, 

Thei leden lordis with lesynges, and bdiyeth treuthe. 

Job the gentil in his gestis, gretly wytnesieth 

That wicked men welden the wdthe of this woildy 

And that thei ben lordis of eche lond, that out of kwe libbeth, 

Quare impii vivunty bene est omnibus qui preyaricantur et inique agant 

The sauter seth the same^ by suche that done ille, 

Ecoe ipsi peceatores habundantes in iieculo obtinuerunt diritias. 

Loo I seith holy lettnir, which lordis ben these [shrewes?^*] 

Thilke that god most geyeth, lest good thei delith. 

And most unkynde [be] to the commune, that most catel weldith'. 

Que perfecisti destruxerunt, Justus autem See. 

Hariotb for her harlotrie, may have of here goodes. 

And japersy and jogders*, and jangleris of gestis ; 

And he that hath hdy wrytt ay in his mouthe, 

And can telle of Thobie, and of the twelve apostles, 

Or prechen of [the] penaunee, that Pilat falsely wroughtte 

To Jesu the gentil, that Jewes to drowe, 

Ful Utel is he loved, that suche a lesson shewith. 

Or daunteth or drawith forth, I do hit on [god] hym silve'^* 

But thei^ that feynen hem fooles, and with &ytyng' libbeth* 

Ayen the lawe of our lord, and liyen on hem silve, 

Spitten and spewen, and speken foule wordes, 

Drynken and dryvden, and do men for to iape, v 

Lykne men, and Hyen on hem, that leneth hem no geftes^ 

liiei kennen^ no more mynstracy ne musik men to glade 

Than M undy the muller, of multa fecit deus. 

Ne were hire vile hariotrie, have God my trowthe, 

Sholde never kytig ne knyghtte, ne chanon of seynt PouI&h 

Yeve hem to hire yeres-yeve, the yifte of a grote I 

Ac myrthe and mynstracie amongis men is naught, 

But lecherie, and losyngerie^ and losdlis talis, 

Glotonye and grete othes, this myrthe thei loveth; 

Ac if thei carpen"* of Christ, thise darkis and thise lewid. 

At the mete in myrthes, whan mynstrelis ben stiller 

Thanne tdle thei of the trinyte, a tde other tweyne^ 

And bryngen forth a ballid reson, and taken Bernard'^ to witnesses 

And putten forth a presumption to preve the sothe ; 

Thus thei dryvden at hire deys^ the deyte to knowe. 

And gnawen Grod wit the gorged wbanne hire guttis ben fidle. 

Ac the careful^ may crye, and carpen at the gate, 

' ^^"■"— «v^«^ ' jngglen. *" tpeak. * St Bernard 

^th«y. > deceiving. *^ their table. .'throat. 

^ know. 1 lying. \ poor. 

^ therwes. ^ The HarL MS. reads, with manifest improYement of the senMf 

*'0r daunUd or drawe forth these discours wite the aoUie." 



Bothe [a-fingred*] and a [furateS] and for chele' quake, 

Is there noon to nymen hem nere, his noye" to amend, 

But houlen on hym as on an hound, and hoten hym go thennes. 

Litel loveth he that lord, that lente hym al that bliase, 

That thus parteth withe the pore, a percelle whan hym nedith ; 

Ne were mercy in mene men, more than in riche, 

Mendynauntis metelesS myghtten go to bedde. 

God is moche in the gorge of thise gret maistres, 

And amonges mene men, his mercy and his werkea ; 

And so seith the sauter, I have seiyen hit ofte, 

Eoce audivimus cam in Effirata, et invenimus cam in campis ailre. 

Clerkis and other kynnes- men, carpen of Grod faste, 

And haven hym mochil in mouthe, ac mene men in herte, 

/ Freris and faytours, han founden such questions 
To plese wyth proud men, sithen the pestilence tyme. 
And prechen at S. Poulis, for pure envye of derices, 
That folke is nat fermed in the feith, ne free of hire goodes, 
Ne sory for hire synnes ; so is pryde woxen 
In religion, and in al the reume, among riche and pore, 
That praiers have no power, the pestilence to lette. ^^ 
And yut the wretches of this worlde, are non yware by other, 
Ne for drede of the deth, withdrawe naughte of hire pride, 
Ne beth plentous to the pore, as pure charite wolde, * 
But in gaynesse and glotenye, [forglote*^] hire good hem silve. 
And breken naughtte to the beggere, as the book techeth, 
Frange esurienti panem iuum &c 

And the more he wynneth and weldeth, welthis and richesses, 
And lord of leedis an4 londis, the lasse good he delith. 
Thobie tellith you nat so, taketh hede ye riche, ^ 
Howe the book of the bible, of hem berith witnesse. 
Si tibi sit copia, habundanter tribue. 
Si autem exiguum, illud impartiri stude libenter. 
Who so hath moche, [spend manly, so meaneth^^] Thobie, 
[And] who so litil weldith, reule hym thereaftir. 
For we have no lettre of our lyf, hou long hit shal endure. 

. Suche lessons lordis sholde lovye to huyre, 

I And how thei myghtten most meyne, manliche fynde, 

I And how no^ to fare as a [fideler^^] or a frere for to seke festes, 

/ Homlich at other men houses, and haten hire owen ; 
Elynge*^ is that halle eche day in the wyke, 
Ther the lorde [ne^?] the lady liketh nat to sitte. 

' cold. * trouble. letter to Anne BuUen, speaks of his £1- 

* beggars supperlesB. Ungness since her departure. Hearne'a 

* strange, deserted. Henry VIII. in a Avesb. p. 360, 

> an hoDgred. > a thurste. ** forgutten. 

** dispens moche semeth Thobie. >> vitelere. ^ and. 


Nowe hath eche ryche a reule^^ to eten by hym silve, 

In a privey parlour, for pore mennys sake, 

Or in a chaambre wyth a chymney, and leve the cheef halle, 

That was mad for melis, men to eten inne. — 

And whanne that Wytt was yware, what dam% Studie tolde, 

He [became'*] so [confuse**], he couthe nat loke, 

And as dombe as [death ^^] he drou^ him [arere'^>]. 

And for no carpyng [I cold*«] aftir, ne knelyng to the grounde, 

I myghtte no greyn get, of his grete wittis, 

But id laughynge he loutid, and loked upon Studie, 

In signe that I shold biseehe hire of grace. 

[And when I was war of his wil, to his wife I loutid], 

And seide mercy, madame, your man shal I worthe. 

As long as I lyve, bothe late and rathe, 

[For«] to worchen your wille^ the while my lyf dureth. 

With [this] that ye keone me kyndely, to know what is Dowel ? 

For thi meknesse man, coth she, and for thi mylde speche, 

I shal kenne the to my oosyn, that Clergie is hoten^; 

He hath weddid a wyf, withynne thise sexe monthes, 

That is sibbe* to the sevene ars, Scripture is hire name; 

Thei two as I hope, after my techyng, 

Shullen wisse the to Dowel, I dare hit undirtake. 

Thanne was I al so fayn% as foul^ on fair morwe. 

And gladder thanne the gleman % that golde hath to yifte ; 

And axid hire the hiye weye wher that Clergie^ dwelte; 

And telle me some tokene, coth I, for tyme b that I wende. 

Axe the hiye weie, coth Studie, hennes to Suffre, 

Bothe wel and woo, if that thou wole leme. 

And ride forth by Richesse, and rest nat therynne ; 

For if thou couplest the therwith, to Clergie comest thou never ; 

And also the likerous launde that Lecherie hatteth, 

Leve hit on thi lift half, a large myle or more ; 

Til thou come to a court, kepe wel thi tonge 

Fro lesynges and lither® speche, and likerous drynkes, 

Thanne shalt thou see Sobrete, and Sympilte of speche. 

That eche wyghtte be in wille, his witte to shewe. 

And thus shalt thou come to Clergie, that can many thynges. 

[Saye hym thys signe ^^,] that I sette hym to scole. 

And that I grete wel hb wyf, for I wrot hire many bokes, 

And sette hire [to] Sapience, and [to] the Sauterl glosid, 

Logik I lemyd hire, and many other lawes, 

* custom. ' back. ^ harper. ^ learning. 

^ named. * mother [allied]. ' wanton. 

■ cheerful. •» bird. 

* was. " ysconfited. • deeC *^ al ayere. 

*' he couthe. *' for I. *• telle hym this tokene. 


And alle the^usones to musik, I mad hire to kuowe ; 

Plato the poite, I put him [firste] to book, 

Aristotil and other moe« to argue I hem taughtte ; 

Grainmer for girles> I gart first wryte. 

And bet hem with a balays, but if thei wolde leme; 

Of alle kyn crafles, I counturfetid tolls. 

Of carpentrie, of kervers, and compassid masons, 

And lemyd hem leevel and lyne, though I loke dymme. 

[Ac^^] Theologie hath tened me, ten score tymys ; 

The more I muse therynne, the mystier hit semyth. 

And the depper I dyvyne, the derker me hit thynketh. 

The artifices and persuasions of the monks to procure donations to 
their convents, are thus humourously ridiculed, in a strain which seems 
to have given rise to Chaucer's Somfnour's Tale. 

Thanne he asoyled hire sone, and sythen he sayde, 
We haven a wyndow in a working, wole sitten us ful hiye, 
Woldest thu glase that gable, and grave theiynne thi name, 
Ful siker diolde thi soule be hevene to have, &c.' 

CovBTisE or Covetousness, is thus drawn in the true colours of 
satirical painting. 

And thanne cam Covbtise, kan I h3rm nat discrive, 

So hungeriy and holwe sire hervy him loked ; 

He was [bitUe^*] browed and baburiipped bothe, 

With two blerid eiyen as a blynde hagge, 

And as a letheme pors loUid his chekes, 

Well Bidder than his chynne thei cheverid for dde, 

And as a bond man of his bacon his herd was bydrivelid ; 

' fol.xH. a.b. TheM,and the following So ako in the Ploughman's Crede, here- 

linct, are plainly copied by Chancer, via. after mentioned. Sign. B. iiL a friar saya» 

And I ahaU cover your kyrke, and yoor So that thoa mow amende our houee 
cloiature do maken. with money other ela 

Chaucer, Sompn. T. p. 93. v. 835. edit ^"*** "^ ~'^' "^^ ~™ "^ *^PP** "^ 
Urr. But with new strokes of humour. sylTere. 

T«»«a.our A"^ f »;««»•*• ««»•««*• 

dovster ^"° mightest on amenden as with money 

Quod he, for i^y a muscle and many -,. *?*?i"tT"'i ur nv • * • 
an oyster ^^^ sholdest knely bifore Chrut m 

Whan othir men have been ftiU well at , ,. ^"P" ®i«**'^' ^ . , , . 

In the wide wyndowe westward, wel nigh 

HaTo ben our fiide our doyster for to *** ** ™»^^ 

reyse. That is, " your figure shall be painted in 

And yet,god wote, unnethe the fundament glass, in the middle of the west window/' 

Parfourmid is, ne of our pavement ftc But of thu passage hereafter. [See 

Thar is not yet a tile within our wones, infra, p. 96, note ^] 
Bigod, we owe fourtie pound tot stones. 

^ Taken from Dr. Whitaker*8 edition.— Crowley reads '* And,*' which by him 
appears constakUy to have been substituted for <* Ac* 
*• betir. 



With an hood on his hede, [and] a lowsy hatte above^ 

And in a taunie tabard^ of twelve wynter age, 

Alto toryn and baudy, and full of luys crepyng ; 

But yf a louse couth have lopen the bettre. 

She shold not have walkid [on^^ the welte,] so was hit thredbar. 

I have be Covetyse, coth this caitef, I knewe hit never. 

For summetime I servyd Synune at style, 

And was his prentis yplyght, hb profyte to wayte. 

First I lemed to lye, a leef other tweyne 

Wickedlich to weye, was'my furst lesson. 

To Wy* and to Winchester^ I went to the faire, 

* tabard. A coat. 

* [Wy is probably WeyhiU in Hamp- 
shire, where a &inoas £ur still subsists.— 

^ AntienUy, before many flourishiog 
towns were established, and the neces- 
saries or ornaments of life, from the con- 
venience of communication and the in- 
crease of pnmncial civility, could be 
procured in various places, goods and 
commodities of every kind were chiefly 
sold at fiurs ; to which, as to one univer- 
sal mart, the people resorted periodically, 
and supplied most of their wants for the 
ensuing year. The display of merchan- 
dise, and the conflux of customers, at 
these principal and almost only emporia 
of domestic commerce, was prodigious: 
and they were therefore often held on 
open and extensive plains. One of the 
chief of them seems to have been that of 
St. Giles's hill or down near Winchester, 
to which our poet here refers. It was 
instituted and given as a kind of revenue 
to the bishop of Winchester, by William 
the Conqueror ; who by his charter per- 
mitted it to continue for three days. 
But in consequence of new royal grants, 
Henry the Third prolonged its continu* 
ance to sixteen days. Its jurisdiction 
extended seven miles round, and com- 
prehended even Southampton, then a 
capital trading town : and all merchants 
who sold wares within that circuit, for- 
feited them to the bishop. Officers were 
placed at a considerable distance, at 
bridges and other avenues of access 'to 
the fiur, to exact toll of all merchandise 
passing that way. In the mean time, 
all shops in the city of Winchester were 
shut. In the fair was a court called the 
pavilion, at which the bishop's justidaries 
and other oflkers assisted, with power 
to try causes of various sorts for seven 
miles round: nor among other singular 
claims could any lord of a manor hold 
a court-baron within the said circuit, 

without licence from the pavilion. Du- 
ring this time, the bisliop was empowered 
to take toll pf every load or parcel of 
goods passing through the gates of the 
city. On Sdnt Giles's eve, the mayor, 
baitifik, and citisens of the city of Win- 
chester delivered the keys of the four 
city gates to the bishop's officers ; who, 
during the said sixteen days, appointed a 
mayor and bailiffof their own to govern 
the city, and also a coroner to act within 
the said city. Tenants of the bishop, 
who held lands by doing service at the 
pavilion, attended the same with horses 
and armour, not only to do suit at the 
court there, but to be ready to assist the 
bishop's officers in the execution of writs 
and other services. But I cannot here 
enumerate the many extraordinary privi- 
leges granted to the bishop on this occa- 
sion ; all tending to obstruct trade, and to 
oppress the people. Numerous foreign 
merchants frequented this fhir; and it 
appears, that the justiciaries of the pavi- 
lion, and the treasurer of the bishop's 
palace of Wolvesey, received annually for 
a fee, according to ancient custom, four 
basons and ewers, of those foreign mer- 
chants who sold braxen vessels In the fair, 
and were called mereaioret diaunteret. In 
the fair several streets were formed, as- 
signed to the sale of different commodi- 
ties ; and called the Drapery, the Pottery, 
the SjHcery, &c Many monasteries, in 
and about Winchester, had shops, or 
houses, in these streets, used only at the 
fkir, which they held under the bishop, 
and often let by lease for a term of years. 
One place in the fkir was called Specia- 
rium Saneti Svtythim, or the Spicery of 
Saint Swithin's monastery. In the reve- 
nue rolls of the antient bishops of Win- 
chester, this fhir makes a grand and 
separate article -of reception, under this 
title. Per I A. Computus Ferue soncti 
Egidii, But in the revenue-roll of bishop 
Will, of Waynflete, [an. 1471.] it appears 

^ there. 



With many maner marchaundises, as my maister me hightte. — 
Than drewe I me among drapers my donet^ to [leraey^^] 

to haTe greatly decayed r in which, among 
other proofit, I find mention made of a 
district iti the fair being unoccupiedi 
« Ubi homines ComuhuB stare sokbani" 
From whence it likewise appears that dif- 
ferent counties had their different stations. 
The whole reception to the bishop this 
year from the fair, amounted only to 
452. 18s. bd. Yet this sum, small as it 
may seem, was worth upwards of 400i. 
Edward the First sent a precept to the 
sheriff of Hampshire, to restore to the 
bishop this fair; which his escheator 
Malcolm de Harlegh had seized into the 
king's hands, without command of the 
treasurer and barons of the exchequer, 
in the year 1292. Registr. Job. de Pon- 
tissara, Episc. Wint. fol. 195. After the 
charter of Henry the Third, many kings 
by charter confirmed this fair, with all its 
privileges, to the bishops of Winchester. 
The last charter was of Henry the Eighth 
to bishop Richard Fox and his successors, 
in the year 1511. But it was followed by 
4m usual confirmation-charter of Charles 
the Second. In the year 1144, when 
Brian Fiti -count, lord of Wallingford in 
Berkshire, maintained Wallingford castle, 
one of the strongest garrisons belonj^ng 
to Maud the empress, and consequently 
sent out numerous parties for contribu- 
tiona and provisions, Henry de Blois 
bishop of Winchester ei\|oindd him not to 
molest any passengers that were coming 
to his fiair at Winchester, under pain of 
excommunication. Omnibus ad feriam 
MBAM venientibus, &c. MSS. Dodsworth. 
ToL 89. f. 76. Bibl. BodL This was in 
king Stephen's reign. In that of Richard 
the First, in the year 1194, the king 
grants to Portsmouth a fiiir laating for 
fifteen days, with all the privileges of 
Saint Giles's fair at Winchester. Anders. 
Hist Com. i. 197. In the yesr 1234, 
the eighteenth of Henry the Third, the 
fermier of the city of Winchester paid 
twenty pounds to Ailward chamberlain of 
Wincbaster castle, to buy a robe at this 
fair for the king's son, and divers silver 
implements for a chapel in the castle, 
fiiadox, Exch. p. 251. It appears from a 
curious record now remaining, containing 
Tlie Establishment and Expences of the 
hotuehold of Henry Percy, fifth earl of 
Northumberland, in the year 1512, and 
printed by Dr. Percy, that the stores of 
his lordship's house at Wresille, for the 
whole year, were laid in from fairs. "He 
that standes charged with my lordes house 

for the houll yeir, if he may possible, shall 
be at all F aires where the groice emp- 
tions shall be boughle for the house for 
the houUe yeire, as wine, wax, beifles, 
multons, wheite, and maltie." p. 407. 
This last quotation is a proof, that fairs 
still continued to be the principal marts 
for purchasing necessaries in large quan- 
tities, which are now supplied by frequent 
tradibg towns: and the mention of be{ffes 
and multons, which were salted oxen and 
sheep, shows that at so late a period they 
knew but little of breeding cattle. Their 
ignorance of so important an article of 
husbandry, is also an evidence, that in the 
reign of Henry the Eighth the state of 
population was much lower among ns 
than we may imagine. 

In the statutes of Saint Mary Ottery's 
college in Devonshire, given by bishop 
Grandison the founder, the stewards and 
sacrist are ordered to purchase annually 
two hundred pounds of wax for the choir 
of the college, at this fair. " Cap. Ixvii. 
— Pro luminaribus vero omnibus supra- 
dictis inveniendis, etiam statuimus, quod 
senescalli scaccarii per visum et auxillum 
sacriste, omni anno, in numdinis Wtk- 
TON, vel alibi apud Toryngton et in par- 
tibus Bamstepol, coram suffidentem,qiMm 
ad ducentas libras sestimamus pro uno 
anno ad minus, fadant providerL" These 
statutes were granted in the year 1338. 
MS. apud Registr. Priorat. S. Swithia. 
Winton. In Archiv. Wolves. In the Ao- 
compts of the Priories of Maxtoke in 
Warwickshire, and of Bicester in Oxford- 
shire, under the reign of Henry the Sixth, 
the monks appear to have laid in yearly 
stores of various yet common necesssries, 
at the fair of Sturbridge in Cambridge- 
shire, at least one hundred miles distant 
from either monastery. It may seem sur- 
prising, that their own neighbourhood, 
including the cities of Oxford and Coven- 
try, could not supply them with oonomo- 
dities neither rare nor costly, which they 
thus fetched at a considerable expence of 
carriage. It is a rubric in some of the 
monastic rules, De £untibu$ adNun d im u , 
See Dugd. Mon. Angl. ii. p. 746. It is 
hoped the reader will excuse this tedious 
note, which at least develops antient man- 
ners and customs. 

t Lesson. Properly a Grammar^ from 
^liusDonatus the gniamaxisai. Chaucer, 
Testam. L.p.504. b. ediL Urr. "No passe 
I to vertues of this Margarite, but therin 
al my donot can 1 leme." In the statutes 

* lere. These words are fVequently confounded, though their distinction Is equally 
great with thai of cause of effect— Leran A. S. to teach ; Leornan A. S. to earn. 



To draw the lyser along, the leuger hit semyd. 
Among the rich raiyes, Scc^ 

Our author, who probably could not get preferment, thus inveighs 
against the luxury and diversions of the prelates of his age. 

And now is religion a ridere, a romere bi streetis, 

A ledar of love-daiyes^ and a loud"' bigere ; 

A prikere on a palfray from maner to maner, 

An hep of houndes at his ars, as he a lord were°. 

And but his knave knele, that shall hym hys cuppe brynge. 

He loureth on hym, and axeth who taughtte hym curtesies 

of Winchester-college^ [written about 
I3S6J grammar is called " Antiquus do- 
iutiis»" i. e. the old denai, or the name of 
a system oi grammar at that time in Togue, 
and long before. The French have a book 
entitled "Le Donmbt, traiti de gram- 
mah-e, MUS a feu rot Charlet viii." Among 
Rawlinson*s manuscripts at Oxford, I have 
seen DomUfu opihnits noviter conqtilatus, 
a mamucript on vellum, given to Sdnt 
Alban's, by John Stoke, abbot, in 1450. 
In the introduction, or lytell Proheme, to 
Dean Colet's Grammatices Rudimenta, 
we find mention made of '* certayne in- 
troducyons into latyn speche called Do- 
natei" &c. Among the books written 
by Btthop Pecock, there is the Donat 
hUo ehruHoH reUgum, and the Fohwer 
to the Dov AT. Lewis's Pecock, p. 317. I 
think I have before observed, that John 
of Basing, who flourished in the year 
1240, calls his Qreek Grammar Donatus 
Gkmcokjju, Pegge's Weseham, p. 51. 
Wynkyn de Worde printed Donatus ad 
AngKeanarum tehoUtrum^MSum, Cotgrave 
(in V.) quotes an- old French proverb, 
J* Les diables estoient encores a leur Do- 
"nat. The Devilt were but yet in their 

^ fol. xxiii. a. b. 

> levadies. ladies, [vid. supra p. 50, 
Note •.] 

** lewd, [importunate.] 

* Walter de Suffield, bishop of Nor- 
wich, bequeathes by will his pack of 
hounds to the king, in 1256. Blomefield's 
NorC ii. 347. See Chaucer's Monke, 
ProL V. 105. This was a common topic 
of satire. It occurs again, fol. xxvii. a. 
See Chaucer's Testament of Love, p. 492. 
col. U. Urr. The archdeacon of Rich- 
mond, on his visitation, comes to the pri« 
cry of Bridlington ioT Yorkshire, in 1216, 
with ninety-seven horses, twenty-one 
dogs, and three hawks, Dugd. Mon. ii. 65. 

* FoL 1. a. The following prediction, 
although a probable conclusion, concern- 
ing a king, who after a time would sup- 
press the religious houses, is remarkable. 
I Imagined it was foisted into the copies, 

in the reign of king Henry the Eighth* 
But it is in manuscripts of this poem older 
than the year 1400. fbl. 1. a. b. 


confesse your religions, 
And bete you as the bible telleth, /or 

breking of your rule : 
And amende moniales, monkes and cha- 

noines. — 
And then friers in her freytor shall fynd a 

Of Constantynes coffers, in which is the 

That Gregories godchyldren had it dis- 

pended ; 
And than shall the abot of Abingdon, 

and all his issue for ever, 
Have a knocke of a eino, and incu- 


Again, fol. Ixxxv. a. where he alludes to 
the knights-templars, lately suppressed. 

Men of liolie kirke 

Shall turiie as templars did, the tyme 
approcheth nere. 

This, I suppose, was a favourite doctrine 
in Wickliffe's discourses. I cannot help 
taking notice of a passage in Piers Plow- 
man, which shows how the reigning pas- 
sion for chivalry infected the ideas and 
expressions of the writers of this period. 
The poet b describing the crucifixion, and 
speaking of the person who pierced uur 
Saviour's side with a spear. This person 
our author calls a knight, and says that 
he came forth " unth hie spere in hand, 
and justed with Jesus," Afterwards for 
doing so base an act as that of wounding 
a dead body, he is pronounced a disgrace 
to knighthood: and our " Champion che- 
valer chyese knyght " is ordered to 
yield himself recreant, fol. Ixxxviii. b. 
This knight's name is Longis, and he is 
blind; but receives his sight from the 
blood which springs from our 'Saviour's 
side. This miracle is recorded in the 
Golden Legende. He is called Longias, 
" A blinde knight men ycallid Longias," 
in Chaucer, Lam. Mar. Magd. v. 177. 


There 13 great picturesque humour in the following Uneo* 

Hunger in haste than hent Wastour by the mawe. 

And he wrong hym so by the wombe that bothe his dyen wattred ; 

He buffetid the brytoner aboute the chekes, 

That he loked lik a lanteme al his lifetyme.? 

And in the following, where the Vices are represented as converted 
and coming to confession, among which is the figure of Envy. 

/ Of a freris frocke weren the fore sieves, 

And as a leeke [that] hadde yleye longe in the sonne, 
So loked he with lene chekis, lourynge fonle.^ 

It would be tedious to transcribe other strokes of humour with which 
this poem abounds. Before one of the Visions the poet falls asleep 
while he is bidding his beads. In another he describes Antichrist, 
whose banner is borne by Pride, as welcomed into a monastery with 
ringing of bells, and a solemn congratulatory procession of all the 
monks marching out to meet and receive him.' 

These images of Mercy and Truth are in a different strain. 

Out of the west coost, a wenche as me thoughtte, 
Come wandrynge in the weie, to helleward she loked; 
Mercy hyghtte that mayde, a meke thyng withalle, 
A ful benyng herd, and buxom of speche. 
Hire soster, as hit semyd, come softly walkyng, 
Evene out of the este, and westward she lokid, 
A ful [comely ^t'] creature, [Truth^^] she hightte. 
For the vertu that hire folwid aferd was she never. 
Whanne thise maydens metten, Mercy and Treuthe, 
Eyther axid other of this grete wondir, 
Of the dene and of the derknesse, &c.' 

The imagery of Nature, or Kinde, sending forth his diseases from 
the planets, at the command of Conscience, and of hb attendants Age 
and Death, is conceived with sublimity. 

Kynde Conscience tho herde, and cam out of the planetts» 
And sent forth his forreours Feveris, and Fluxes, 
Coughes, and Cardyacles, Crampes, and Tothe-aches, 
Reumes, and Redegoundes, and roynous Skalles, 
Buyles, and Botches, and brennynge Agwes, 
Frennesyes and foule Evelis, forageris of Kynde. 
There was << Harrow I and Helpe I here cometh Kynde I 
With Deeth that is dredful, to undon us allel" 
The lord that lyved aftir lust tho lowde criede. — 

' fol. zxiii. b. 1 foL zUi. a. ' fol. cxii. a. ' fol. Izxxviii. b. 

manly. *' treuly. 


ZAffe the hoarty he was in the vaw-wardy 

Andbare the banner before Death: by ryght he U claimed*^ 

Kynds cam aftir, with many kene soriBy 

As Pockes and Pestilences, and moch peple shente ; 

So Ktnoe thoi^h corruptions, killid ful manye. 

Desth cam dryvyng aftir, and al to dost [pashed^'] 

Kyngs and knyghttes, kaysours, and popis. — 

Many a lovely lady, and lemmanys of kayghttes, 

Swowed and sweltid for sorwe of Dbthb's denies. 

CoNsciBNCB, of his curtesye, to Kymdb he besoughtte 

To [cease ^*] and sofre, and see whether thei wolde 

Leve Pryde prively, and be parfyt Christene ; 

And Ktnde cecyd tho, to see the peple amende.^ 

These lines at least put us in mind of Milton's Lazarhouse." 

Immediately a place 

Before his eyes iqppear^d, sad, noisome, dark : 
A la^ar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid 
Numbers of all diseased : all maladies 
Of gastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs. 
Intestine stone, and ulcer, cholic pangs. 
Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy, 
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, 
Marasmus, and wide-wasting Pestilence : 
Dropsies and asthma, and joint-racking rheum. 
Dire was the tossingi Deep the groans! Despair 
Tended the sick, busy from couch to couch ; 
And over them triumphant Death hb dart 
Shook, but delay'd to strike, &c. 

At length Fortune or Pride sends forth a numerous army led by 
Lust, to attack Conscience. 

And gadrid a grete oste, alle agayn Conscience : 

This Lbcherib leyde on, with a laughyng chere. 

And with prive speche, and peynted wordes. 

Armed hym in idilnesse and in hiegh berynge. 

He bare a bowe in his hand, and many blody arwes, 

Weren fetherid with faure byheste, and many a false treuthe'^ 

Afterwards Conscience is besieged by Antichrist, and seven great 
giants, who are the seven capital or deadly sins : and the assault is 
made by Sloth, who conducts an army of more than a thousand pre- 

* fol. cxiii. a. ' Par. L. ii. 475. ^ fol. cxiii. a. 

** pasud. ' *■ ICC 


It is not improbable, that Longland here had his eye on the old 
French Roman d'Antechrist, a poem written by Huon de Mery, 
about the year 1228. The author of this piece supposes that Antichrist 
is on earth, that he visits every profession and order of life, and findi^ 
numerous partisans. The Vices arrange themselves under the banner 
of Antichrist, and the Virtues under that of Christ. These two 
armies at length come to an engagement, and the battle ends to the 
honour of the Virtues, and the total defeat of the Vices. The banner 
OF Antichrist has before occurred in our quotations from Longland. 
The title of Huoa de Mery*s poem deserves notice. It is [Lb] TtJR- 
noyement de l'Antechrist. These are the concluding lines. 

Par son droit nom a peau cet livre 
Qui tresbien s* avorde a V esciit 
Le Toumoiement de rAniechrist. 

The author appears to have been a monk of St Germain des Pres, 
near Paris. This allegory is much lilce that which we find in the old 
dramatic Moralities. The theology of the middle ages abounded 
with conjectures and controversies concerning Antichrist, who at a 
very early period was commonly believed to be the Roman pontiffs 



Note A.-^Referred to in page ^^ of this volume^ noie •.) 

This conjecture of Mr. Tyrwhitt is supported by the title of Dr. 
Whitaker's manuscript: "Hie incipit visio Will' de Peirs Plouhman." 
Mr. Ritson was rather disposed to reject it, from a belief that this rubric 
had originated in a mistake ; and was founded on an erroneous inter- 
pretation of the following, and other similar passages : 

Than Thought in that time*sayde these wordes, 
Whether Dowelt Debet, and Dobesty beene in lande, 
Here is Wyl wolde witte, if Witte could teche hym. 

Yet he speaks with considerable hesitation : " Now unless the word 
WiLLE be, as there is some reason to believe^ no more than a personifi- 
cation of the mental faculty, and have consequently been misappre- 
hended by the writer of that tide^ it would follow that the authors name 
is William, and that his surname and quality are totally unknown." 
On a first perusal of the poem, there are few perhaps who have not 
been inclined to unite with Mr. Ritson, in this opinion of the Dreamer's 

* See this topic discussed withsingu- to the Study of the Prophecies. Lond. 
lar penetration and perspicuity, by Dr. 1772. p. 206. seq. 
Hurd, in Twelve Sermons Introductory 


eliaiacter. His OMistant association with persons confeflsedly allegori- 
oai» the promptitude with which he recognises their several appellations 
and attributes, the familiarity of his addreas,' at what otherwise must 
have been a first encounter, and the common interest these airy phan- 
toms appear to take in the spiritual welfare of the wanderer, — seem to 
speak for a community of origin, and something like an identity of hr 
mily. And perhaps there is no passage in the Visions more strongly 
oorroboratiTe of such a belief than this : 

A muche man, me thoufate, fyke to my sdvey 

Cam and callede me by my ryhte name : 

What ert thow, quath ich, that my name knowest? 

That west thou Wille, quath he, and no wight betere : 

Wot ich? quath ich, — ^ho ert thow? Thouhte, seide he thenne; 

Ich have the sewed this seve yer, seih thou me no rather? 

It will however be recoUected that Wil (or as it is termed by Mr. 
Ritson, ** a personification of the mental faculty,") has been introduced 
on another occasion, and that in no very exalted capacity. It b a name 
given to the horse of Reason. 

And sette my sadell uppon Soffre, till ich see my tyme ; 

Let worrok hym wel with a vyse before ; 

For it is the won of Wil to wynse and to kyke. 

In a subsequent part of the poem. Free Will, or Liberum Arbitrium, 
is exhibited as the collective idea of the " mental faculty," or (to speak 
with Dr. Whitaker,) is used in a sense which seems '* coextensive with 
all the faculties of the soul :** and in the catalogue of its attributes we 
find the modem acceptation of Will distinctly specified. 

And the wyle ich quyke the cours, cald am ich Anima ; 

And wenne ich wilne other wolde, Animus ich hyhte ; 

And for that ich can and knowe, cald ich am mannys thouht; 

And whan ich make mone to God, Memoria ich hatte ; 

And when ich deme domes, and do as treuthe techeth 

Then is Racio my ryhte name, Reson in English ; 

And wenne ich fele that folke telleth, my furste name is Sensus, 

And that is Wine and wisedome, the welle of alle craftes ; 

And when i chalange other nat chalange, chesse or refuse ; 

Thanne am ich Conscientia cald, Godes clerk and hus notarie ; 

And when ich wol do other nat do goode dedes other ille, 

Then am ich Liberum Arbitrium, as lettrede men tellen ; 

And when ich love leelly oure Lord and alle othere. 

Then is Leel Love my name, in Latyn that b Amor ; 

And when ich flee fro the body, and feye leve the caroygne, 

Then am ich a spirit specheles, and Spiritus thenne ich bote. 

But the objection most conclusive against Mr. Ritson*s doctrine will 
be found in the circumstance, that with one or two exceptions, (such 

62 VISION ov piBftCv PLOWMAN. [ssci'.vnr. 

as the colloquy between Will and ReaBon, Pkiasofi 6) all the imagvuury 
beings of the poem are avowedly the creatures of a dreamer's ^cy, the 
visions of his sleeping moments ; while to mark the distinction between 
the narrator's person, and the fictitious creations with which he has 
peopled his allegory, he expressly alludes in hb waking intervals to his 
residence on Comhill, and to his wife and daughter, Kitty and Kalot 
Whatever diversity of opinion may have been excited by the ambiguous 
appellation bestowed upon the dreamer, there can be no doubt of the 
substaAtial character intended to be conveyed of his family ; and there 
is too much propriety observed in the all^orical combinations detailed 
in the poem, to suppose for a moment that the author would have united 
his imaginary wanderer with a consort ** of middle-earth.'* To complete 
the proof, it may be observed, that in a manuscript noticed hereafter 
(HarL No. 875) we find : '< That made William to wepe.** Where the 
present text reads : <« That made Wille to wepe."— Whether this be the 
author's name, as inferred by Mr. Tyrwhitt, it is now impossible to de- 
cide. The same motives which might induce him to avt>id any mention 
of his character, parentage, or occupation, would be sufficient to account 
for the assumption of a feigned Christian name. — ^In the subsequent 
pages the name of Langland has been retained, to avoid a tedious cir- 

[I am fortunately enabled to throw some additional light on the dis* 
puted question of the authorship of Pien Plouhman, which will prove, 
at least, that Tyrwhitt and Price were right in their assumption. On 
the fly leaf of a copy of the poem, preserved in Trini^ Collie, Dub- 
lin, of the fifteenth century, appears this curious and valuable note : 
*< Memorandum, quod Stacy de Rokayle, pater WUUelmi de Langkmd^ 
qui Stacius fuit generosus, et morabatur in Schiptone vnder Whicwode, 
tenens Dni. Le Spenser in comitatu Oxon. qui predidus Willielmui 
fecit librum qui vocatur Perys PhughmanT I shall not indulge at pre- 
sent in any further comment on this note, since I have no doubt, that, 
if the memorandum is to be depended on, it will not be difficult to trace 
the individual thus at length so positively identified* — M.] 


[See page 45 of this volume, note ^] 

The following extracts from Dr. Whitaker's edition of the ^ Visions of 
Peirs Plouhman" have been. collated with two manuscripts in the Bri- 
tish Museum: Vespasian B. xvi. and Harleian MS. No. 2376. Both 
these manuscripts are said to have been written in the fourteenth cen- 
tury ; and they only vary from Dr. Whitaker's text, in their occasional 
use of a different orthography, and a few verbal discrepancies common 
to most copies of the same work. The Cotton manuscript, from its an- 


tiquityy its strict observance of the al]iterati<m9 and the general correct- 
ness of its langoi^, may be placed in the same rank of excellence with 
I>r. Whitaker's manuscript. Though equally provincial in its language 

— assuming Chaucer's poems as a standard of polished English, ^it is 

written in a different dialect, and may have been transcribed in some 
western county, since it does not materially vary from the style of Ro- 
bert of Gloucester. The Harleian manuscript, apparently some years 
younger, is not so conspicuous for its fidelity in minor particulars, 
though in the general outline of the narrative, and even in ^e tenor of 
almost every line, it may be said to accord with Dr. Whitaker's text and 
the Cotton copy. Its chief defects are a general neglect of the allite- 
ration, and the repeated introduction of new glosses without a due at- 
tention to the context. Hence the sense is not unfrequently obscure, 
and occasionaOy both contradictory and absurd. But this is in some 
d^ree compensated for, by the retention of many Anglo-Saxon archa- 
isms and several valuable examples of early grammatical inflection ; 
and it will always proYc a useful assistant in forming a future text of 
these ** Visions." 

It is among the remarks contained in Dr. Whitaker's preface, that 
the variations between his own manuscript and Crowley's text are so 
material, as to warrant a b^ef that the original writer had at some 
time chosen to remould his work, and that both versions have come 
down to us. This conclusion is strongly borne out by the amplifica- 
tions of the Oxford manuscript, which, while they support the integrity 
of the early printed copies, clearly show that these variations are too 
important to have been the result of a common transcriber's ci^rice, or 
to have emanated, as Mr. Tyrwhitt believed, from the ignorance, neg- 
ligence, or wilful interpolation of Crowley. But the inference which 
Dr. Whitaker has coupled with this remark, — ^that his own manuscript 
exhibits the poem in its original ^te, and that Crowley's text affords 
a specimen of the more recent rifacimentOy — is not to be admitted with- 
out considerable hesitation. Among the Harley MSS. there is a frag- 
ment of this poem written upon vellum, (No. 875.) of an equally early 
date with Vespasian B. xvi. and in a character neariy resembling it. 
Unhappily this fragment only extends to the 151st line of the 8th pas- 
sus, nor is it free from lacunae even thus far. Our loss is however in 
some measure repaired — ^perhaps wholly so — by the preservation of a 
transcript on paper, in the same collection (No. 6041), which, though 
considerably younger, and somewhat modernized in its orthography, 
exhibits a much more correct and intelligible text. From this manu- 
script it is evident, that another and a third version was once in circu- 
lation ; and if the first draught of the poem be still in existence, it is 
here perhaps that we must look for it For in this the narrative is con- 
siderably shortened; many passages of a decidedly episodic cast— such 
as the tale of the cat and ^e ratons, and the character of Wrath — are 
wholly omitted ; others, which in the later versions are given with con- 


sklerable detail of circumstanoe, are here but slightly sketched ; and 
though evidently the text book of Dr. Whitaker*s and Crowley's ver- 
sionsy it may be said to agree with neither, but to alternate between the 
ancient and modem printed copies. Of this the reader will be best 
able to form his own opinion, on learning that the first passus agrees 
rather closely with Crowley to this line. 

To synge there for Symony for Silver b swete^ — 

(See Whiiaker, p. 5.) 
and then continues in the following manner to the end : 

Ther hovyd an hundred, in houves of selke 

Serjauntes it semed, that serven at barre * 

Reten for penyes, and poundes the lawe 

And.^augt for loue of oure Lord, unlose here lippes ones 

Thow mygthest betere mete the myst, on Malveme hilles 

Than gete a mum of here mouth, but mon6 be schewyd. 

I say byschopes bolde, and bacheleres of devyn 

Be come clerkes of acomtes, the kyng for to serve. 

Erchedekenes and dekenes, that dignetes haven 

To preche the peple, and the pore men to fede 

Ben lopen to London, by leve of here byschopes 

And ben derke of the kynges benche, the contre to schende. 

Barouns and burgeys, and bondage^ also 

I say in that sembl^ as ye schal here after 

Bakers and bochers, and brewsters many' 

Wollene websters, and wevers of linen 

Taylors and towkers, and tollers bothe 

Masons and minours, and many other craftes ; 

And dykers and delvers, that don here dedes ille, 

And dryven forth the longe daye, with duke save^ dame Emme: 

Cokes and here knaves crien, bote pies bote, 

Gode gees and grys, go we dyne, go we 

And tavemers to hem, tolde hem the same ^ 

With wyne of Oseye, and wyn of Gascoyne^ 

Of the Ryn and the Rochel, the rost to defye 

Al this I saug slepyng, and sevene sithes more 7. 

It was the discovery of this manuscript, combined with other consi- 
derations, which it would be now superfluous to enumerate, that con- 

VariaHoM from ike Harleian Fragment, No. 875. 

> to serve at the barre. < bondemen. * Tavemers hem tolde thilke same tale. 

* This and the following lines are omit- * good wyne of Gasky ne, and the wyne 

ted by No. 875. of Osee. — The same hand already noticed, 

■• deui save. —But a later hand has cor- has corrected " wyn" to " weyte (wheat) of 

rected No. 6041, by expunging the k in Qascoyne;" — ^an obvious improvement. 

** duke " and inserting " vous " above : L e. ' omitted, 
"due votts save/' frc. 


firmed a resolution already entertained of an . early manu- 
Bcript copy of Crowley's text, in the body of the History, But as some 
ol^ections might be made to the propriety of such a measure, and a 
difference of opinion might arise as to the value and importance of the 
respective texts, it was thought advisable to meet the difficulty in the 
shape of compromise, by giving the corresponding passages from Dr. 
Whitaker^s edition in an Appendix. To have reprinted these with all 
their errors would have been an easy, though no very laudable under- 
taking. Dr. Whitaker's manuscript contains as pure a text as any sin- 
gle copy is likely to supply. But it is neither free from verbal inaccu- 
racies, omissions, and other faults of a similar nature common to every 
relic of the age in which it was written, nor has it always been cor- 
rectly read. The Museum copies offered a remedy for these defects^, 
and in resorting to their varied readings for an illustration of the diffi- 
culties noticed by Dr. Whitaker, a hope has been encouraged that even 
the present slight notice of their value may point to the means by which 
we may one day obtain an authentic text of our earliest English satirist. 
— ^The corrections introduced in the following pages are all supported 
by the joint authority of these documents. To have recorded every va- 
riation of orthography would have extended the notes to an immode- 
rate length without increasing their value ; for it b only in words of 
doabtful Import or ambiguous enunciation, tiiat such particulars can be 
important to the philologer. Where the sense has materially differed, 
the coiresponding passage has been preserved below. 

And merveylously me mette, as ich may yow telle 

Al the welthe of this worlde, and the woo bothe 

Wynkyng as it were, wyterly ich saw hyt 

Of truyth and of tricherye, of tresoun and of gyle 

Al ich saw slepyng, as ich shal yow telle 

Esteward ich behulde, after the sonne 

And sawe a tour as ich trowede, truthe was ther ynne 

Westwarde ich wattede S in a wyle after 

And sawe a deep dale, deth as ich lyvede 

* By the aid of these manuscripU I fottnd Dr. Whitaker's MS. ; but In the following 
ail the obscurities noticed by Dr. Whitaker extracts, the context shows " wattede " to 
in his first ten passos to be satisfactorily be identical with a Terb» which is elsewhere 
removed. I did not pursue the collation written "waytede.'' 

^^' ^ ^ wo J «u'u ij t» .V Ich dar nouht for is felaweshepe, in faith 

* The Cotton MS. reads " bihulde ;" the p^^^^ ^^^ *^ 

Harley "r^fyifdc^'^Ji^^h inclines me to ^ ^.^ ,.^^^ ^ , ^, ^ ^^ 

beheye, that Dr. Whitaker m rendering doune • 

"wattede," ^dered, from the Anglo- ^^ ^attethhil wel, wan ich sulfere take, 

Saxon «wath/ has confounded it with ^^^wey ich wende, wel yerne he aspieth. 

another term of nearly simiUr «>und. ^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^; ^^^ ^^^ ^ .J^ ^^^ 

For muche woo was hym marked, that softe. p. 66. 

wade shal with the lewede. p. 236. jj^^^ .^ .^ gq^i^^ient to our modern watch ; 
The orthography of the text is peculiar to though Dr. Whitaker, by interpreting it 
VOL. II. f 


Wonede in the wones and wyckede [spiriteB^] 

A fair feld fol of folke, fonde ich ther bytwyne 

[Of] all manere of men, the mene and the rycbe 

Worchynge and wandrynge, as the woiide aaketh 

Somme pute hem to plow, and pleiden fol seylde 

In settyng and in sawyng, swonken ful harde 

And wonne [that*] thuse wasters, wit glotenye distryeth 

Somme pute hem to pruyde, &c. (See Whitaker, p. 1.) 

Thus robed in russett, ich romede a boute 

Al a somer seson, for to seke Dowel 

[And] frainede ful ofte, of folke that ich mette 

Yf eny whit wist, wer Dowel was at ynne 

And what man he myghte be, of meny man ich askede 

Was nevere wiht in this worlde, that wisse me couthe 

Wher that he longede, lasse ne more 

Til hit by-ful on a Frydayc, two freies ich mette 

Maisteres of menours, men of grete witte 

Ich hailsede* hem hendelyche, as ich hadde ylernede 

And prayede pur charite, [or*] thei passede forthere 

"he knowa it well," hat confounded it 
with "wat," the past Unse of "witc." 
Throgh here wordes ich a wook, and wot- 

tede Bboutt 
Aixd teih the sonne in the south, sittc that 

tyme. P-1^2. 

Here as in the present text it means 
And ich loked in hus lappe, a Laiar lay 

ther ynne — j v * 

What waytett thow quath Faith, and wnat 

woldest thou have, ^ . . 

Ich wolde wyte quath ich tho, what is In 

thy lappe. P- 319- 

Whith muche noysc that nyght, ner fren- 

tlk ich awakede 
In inwit and in alle whittcs after hberum 

Ich umtedk wyteriy, ac ne wiste wedcr 

heo wente. P« 31*. 

Dr. Whitaker has paraphrased these ex- 
pressions by: "What waitest thou for, 
«'I waited earnesUy;" which if intended 
for Kterai versions are correct enough. For 
the primary signification of look, gee, and 
wait, appears to have been the sense in 
which we still use the two first Their 
secondary meaning was, to look upon with 
a view to defence or protection ; though 
"wait" was used to imply close observa- 
tion for either offensive or defensive pur- 
poses ; and hence its twofold sense, to at- 
tend or watch. 

s spirif . W. 

» ther. W. Dr. Whitaker glosses the 
passage; "some destroying themselves by 
gluttony and excess:" but this line is evi- 
dently connected with the preceding one, 
and the obvious meaning, "that the in- 
dustrious laboured to attain (wonne) those 
things, which the prodigal destroyed by 
their gluttonous excesses." 

< Dr. Whitaker in his Glossary inter- 
prets «*halse," to salute j and remarks, 
that "halsian" means rather, to implore. 
This I conceive not to have been its pri- 
mary import The verb is clearly derived 
from the substantive " hals," the neck ; 
and expresses that peculiar action which 
constituted the ancient mode of salutation. 
The French accoller has been formed on a 
shnilar principle. But even its secondary 
meaning is founded on a practice of high 
Kai pa w<ipoiff avroio KaBeZero, km 

Xafie yovviav ^ 

Xkoiv' de^iTepy ^ «p' v^ avOepewv^is 

eXovffa, V Ti A cAA 

AiffffofACpfi irpoveetire, c. r, a. Iu A. 500. 

In the following line of Chaucer, 

And said, O dere child, I haUe thee. 

▼. 13576. 

Mr. Tyrwhitt ought to have accepted tlie 
gloss presented by the Askew MS.: **I 
comure thee." It does not mean here, as 
in his second example, "I salute ihee." 
» as. W. 


Yf thd knew eny contreie, other costes aboute 

Wher that Dowel dwelleth, dere frendes telleth me 

For ye aren men of thys molde, that most wide walken 

And knowen contries and courtes, and menye kynne places 

Bothe princes paleis, and poure menne cotes 

And Dowel and Do-uvele, wher thei dwellen bothe 

Sothliche seide the frere, he sojometh with ous freres 

And ay hath as ich hope, and wol her after 

Contra quath ich as a elerke, and comsede to dispute 

And seide sothliche* Septies in die cadit Justus 

Fallynge fro joye, Jesus wot the sothe 

Sevene sythe seith the bok, syngeth^ day by day 

The alther ryghtfuUeste reuk, that r^neth upon eerthe 

And ho so syngeth ich seide, certys doth nat wel 

Fw ho so syngeth, sykeiliche doth uvele 

And Dowel and Do-uTele, may nat dwelle to gederes 

Eigo he ys nat alway, at horn among yow ffreres, 

He is som while elles wher, to wisse the puple 

Ich shal sei the my sone, seide the frere thenne 

How seven sithes the sadde man, syngeth on the day^ 

By a forbusene^ quath the frere, ich shal the faire shewe 

Let brynge a man in a bot, in myddes a brode water 

The wynde and the water, and waggynge of the bote^ 

Maketh the man meny tyme, to stomble yf he stande 

Stonde he nevere so styfliche, thorgh steiynge of the bote 

He bendeth and boweth, the body his unstable 

Ac yut he is saf and sounde, so fareth hit by the ryghtful 

Thauh he falle he falleth nat ; bote as ho fuUe in a bote 

That ay is saf and sounde, that suteth with ynne the borde 

* Tbe Cotton and Harleian MSS. read He is a forbiuur (forbusun) to alle bus- 
''tynneth." Dr. Whitaker's MS. gives the shopes and a brygthe myrour. 

cw^. **K5 nuKiun uoo. re»u bishops"— 18 quite Out of the question. 

And whose synneth i seide certes doth 'Dr.Whitakerglosses this passage thus: 

noat wel, "The motion of the boat will cause him 

For^whoee synneth sikerl! doth evete. many times to stumble, though he may not 

CoTT. fall ; and though he stand ever so steadily 

A^,ho.,„neu.y.!dece««aou.„on :^tr.?.rb<:l-?'2:' T^T^";: 

And W.K.J0 .^eU. .,k.rt, »o. n.a. do '-^^Jf ^t :^ Xtt^Z. 

*"^®**- "^^^- (or fall) hpwever stiffly he may stand. 

7 MS. HarL reads, "in one day''; which Through the modon (stiriring) of the boat 

I eoDoeive to be only a gloss. he bendeth and boweth ; his body is un- 

* Dr. Whitakcr has remarked : This stable, but still (in person) he Is safe and 
word appears to mean an ezamplfrr-a con- soHnd. Thus fares it with the righteous, 
jectnre perfectly correct. It is the Anglo- Though he fall, he only falls like the man 
Saxon fore-bysen, exemplum. It occurs who fell in a boat, that aye is safe, &c. It 
•gain in the Cotton and Harley MSS., is clear from the context that the man in 
where Dr. Whitaker's reads "a forbusur"; the example was understood to iall: he 
page 300. fell, but he sank not. " 

T 2 



So hit fareth quath the frere, by ryghtful mannes fallynge 

Thawe he thorghe fondmge*^ falle, he falleth nat out of charite 

So dedliche synne doth he nat, for Dowel hym helpeth 

The water ys lyknede to the worlde, that waneth and wexeth 

The godeB of [this^^] ground, aren lyke to the grete wawes 

[That] as wyndes and wederes [aren] walwen aboute 

The bot ys lyckenede to our body, that brotel ys of kynde 

That thorgh the fende and oure flesch, and this frele worlde 

Senegeth sevene sithe, the saddest man on erthe 

And lyf holiest of lyf, that lyveth under the sonne. 

Ac free will and free wit, folweth a man evere 

To repenten and ryse, and rowen out of synne 

To contrition to confession, til he come to hus ende 

Rather have we no reste, til we restitue 

Our lyf to oure Lord God, for our lycames gultes 

Ich have no kynde knowing quath ich, to conceyve al thy speche 

Ac yf ich may lyve and loke ^S ich shal go lerne bettere . 

Ich bykenne the to Christ >' quath he, that on the croice deide 

And ich seide the same, save yow fro meschaunce 

W Dr. Whitaker interprets the text, 
"though he sin through folly;" but fond- 
inge means temptatum; and the declara- 
tion implies: though the righteous man 
ftll by means of temptation, &c. It oc- 
curs again, p. 270. 

And frende in alle fondynges, and of foule 
reveles leche. 

" I have substituted "Mis" for *'^Ae" 
on the authority of the Cotton MS. Vesp. 
B. zvi. and another in the same collection 
used in the body of the History. The same 
MS. (Caligula, A. xi.) gives the following 
reading of the succeeding line : 

That as wind and weder is wawen about. 

See p. 46 of this volume. The corrections 
in the text were therefore too obvious not 
to be adopted. 

" Did Langland combine these terms 
fbr the sake of their alliteration, or may 
we regard them as perpetuating one of 
those primitive figures which are common 
to the poetry of every country? 

Qvrcs, efiev (wi/ros km ewi x^o^^ ^^p- 


Sot KOiXys wapa vifv^i papetat x^H>^^ 
eiroKreu IL A. 88. 

Langland is frequent in his use of this 
figure. It has no reference to reading, 
and ought not to have been interpreted : if 
I have space to live and look in the book, 
» The Harleian MS. reads: Y byUke 
the Crist; the Cotton nearly agrees with 
the present text. Dr. WhiUker fixnn his 

paraphrase "I teach unto thee Christ," 
appears to have given "bykenne," the 
power of the simple verb kennen, to in- 
struct I know of no example in An- 
glo-Saxon, which will afford us the verb 
"bekennan"; or in fact of any proof that 
such a verb existed, except the authority 
of Langland. But as " kennan" was sy- 
nonymous with " tsecan," I would wish 
to assume, that the same affinity exbted 
between their compounds " betsecan *' 
(prodere, committere; and "bekennan '*; 
and that we have here the counterpart of 
a phrase of very common occurrence in 
our early poetry^** I commit thee to 

Hom« Crist I the beteche 

Mid mouminde speche 

Crist the yeve god endyng 

And sound ageyn the brynge. ▼. 580. 

Langland has used this expression oocc 
before, and I believe only once. 

For ich bykenne the Crist, quath hue and 

hus clene Moder — 
Thus left me that Lady. p. 26. 

Here Dr. Whitaker explains it " For I 
warn thee (by) Christ and his Yirgin 
Mother" — a gloss entirely without au- 
thority. Keijine occurs below: 

Ich shall the kenne to der^^e my cousin 
that knoweth. 

where the Harlei^ MS. as usual cup* 
plies a gloss at the expense of the aUitieim- 
tion : Y shall teche the to deigie. 


And gyve me grace on this' grounde, with good ende to deye. 

Ich wente forth wyde where walkynge myn one 

In a wylde wyldemesse, by a wode syde 

Bliflse of [the] briddes, abyde me made 

And under [a] lynde in a launde, lenede ich a stounde 

To lithen here laies, and here loveliche notes 

M orthe of here murye mouthes, made me to slepe 

And merveilousliche me mette, a myddes eA that blisse 

A muche man >^ me thouhte, lyke to my selve 

Cam and callede me, by my ryhte name 

What ert thow qnath ich, that my name knowe&t 

That wost thou WiUe quath he, and no wight betere 

Wot ich quath ich ho ert thow. Thouhte seide he thenne 

Ich have the sewed this seve yer, seih you me no rather 

Ert thow Thouhte quath ich tho, thow couthest me wisse 

Where that Dowel dwelleth, and do^^ me to knowe 

Dowel and Dobet quath he, and Dobest the thridde 

Beth thre fayre vertues, and beeth nauht ferr to fynde 

Who so his trywe of ys tonge, and of hus to handes 

And thorwe leel labour lyveth, and loveth his emcristine 

And therto trywe of hus tail, and halt well his handes 

Nouht dronkelewe ne deynous. Dowel hym folweth 

Dobet doth al this, ac yut he doth more 

He is lowe as a lombe, and loveliche of speche 

And helpeth herteliche, alle men of that he may aspare 

The bagges and the by gurdeles ■>, he hath to-broke hem alle 

M Dr. Wbitaker interprets this "a " Dr. Whitaker interprets this word 

meek maiL" The Harleian MS. reads '< private girdles i" an explanation ma- 

^*ainoche man;" the Cotlon, "a mekel nifestly founded upon the vulgar accep- 

man;" which may serve as the genuine tation of a by-law. We meet with it in 

glosa. It occurs in the Chronicle of En- the Anglo-Saxon Gospel of St Matthew: 

gland. N»bbe ge gold, ne seolfer, ne feoh, on 

A moche mon com with him also, **'^™°' bigyrdlum: where the received 

Corineusyclepudwestho. 'v. H. 7^;^^ ^^f ^^,TZ,^^ J^^, 

^ Mr. Ellis conceived " the transitive ver, nor brass in your purses, c. x. v. 9. 

use of the verb do, so frequent in our The origin of the term — as an appendage 

early writers, to be an imitation of a well- to the girdle— will be best understood, by 

known French idiom introduced at the the following illustrations uken from 

Conquest." This elegant critic was not Chaucer: 

aware, that it had been current In En- .. , 

gland long anterior to the Norman inva- And at hire girdel hung a purse of lether 

sion, and that it is still heard on the Tasseled with silk and period with latoun. 

banks of the Elbe among the descendants An anelace and a gipciere (purse) all of 
of our oonomon Saxon ancestors. In g{]k 

France it is supposed a relic of the Bur- Heng at his girdel white as morwe milk, 
gnndian or Prancic conquest, events to 

which it is customary to refer every cor- This illustration is certainly at variance 

ruption of the Roman grammar. But with the declaration of a learned anti- 

wonld it not be more rational to conclude, quary (Bd. Rev.) who has recently main- 

that many of these Teutonic idioms had tained that a by- law means a town-law. 

found their way into Gaul before the Ro- But it may be questioned how far such a 

man eagles passed the Arar (Sadne) ? definition can be borne out by authority ; 



[sect. VIH. 

That the Eori >? Ayerous, heeld and hus eires 

And of mammonaes money, mad hym menj frendes 

And 18 ronne in to religion, and rendreth hus byble 

And precheth to the puple, Seynt Poules wordes 

Libenter suffertis insipientes, cum sitis ipsi saptentes 

Ye worldliche wyse, unwyse that ye sufi^e 

Lene hem and love hem, this Latin ys to mene 

Dobest here sholde, the bisshopes croce 

And halye with hoked ende, ille men to goode 

And with the pyk putte down, prevaricatores legis ■', 

Lordes that lyven as liem luste, .and no lawe acounten. 

Fore here mpk and for here meeble, suche men thynken 

That no bisshop, sholde here byddinge withsitte 

Ac Dobest sholde nat dreden hym, bote do as Gode hihte 

and there can be little difficulty in shovr- 
tng that it Is contrary to analogy. A by • 
law it not a solecism. We have a by-path, 
a by-name, a by-room» a by-word, a by- 
design, Sec. not one of which is remotely 
connected with the idea of a town or has. 
any relation to cItic duties. In the co- 
gnate tongues their . synonyms will be 
found compounded of the simple substan- 
tiTe and a preposition corresponding to 
our English 6y. In German there is a 
fluctuation between the use of "bei" and 
" neben," both implying by, in conjunc- 
tion with, or in addition to. Thus a 
Neben-gesetz, a by-law, meaas a law in 
addition to other laws, a municipal (it may 
be) or conventional law in addition to the 
regular statstea of the country, or the 
acknowledged ordonnances of an institu- 
tion. And so of the rest. The Anglo- 
Saxons (who translated the Greek evay- 
yeXiov by g6d-spell) gave as near an ap- 
p|t>ach to the origin^ aa the affinity of 
the two languages would admit, when 
they rendered wapafioXif, 6%-speIl, the 
bey-spiel or example of modern German.- 
The idea o£ privacy being originally con- 
nected with such compounds is equally 
unfounded. A by-name will entirely fail 
of its object unless publicity be given it, 
and no man can become a by- word among 
friends or foes but by attaining a certain 
degree of general notoriety. 

w The Brut of Tysilio gives a varied 
form of this word (iarl) which Mr. Ro- 
berts declares to be originally Welsh, and 
that it means " a governor of a district, 
Irom the preposition tar, over." Without 
professing to be in any way acquainted 
with the mysteries of Cymric lore, I will 
venture to suggest, that the Welsh "iar" 
is nothing more than a cognate root with 
the Teutonic " ar, cr, are, ere, ier, iara," 

all implying priority or supcfriority, and 
in no way connected with our English 
title of honour. This latter will be found 
in its simplest form, in the Low-German 
Paraphrase of the Gospels, known by the 
name of Canute's Book ; where it is con- 
( stantly used as a synonym for man. In 
this sense we also find it in <he Anglo* 
Saxon *<ceorl," our modem churl — ^the 
chorle of old English poetry ; — and where 
the substitution of ch for c, shows the 
aspirate in some provinces to have been 
modulated. With the full aspirate it still 
exists in the Scottish carle, and the *<girl'' 
of every day discourse, " an appellative," 
as Mr. Tyrwhitt observes, " formerly com- 
mon to both sexes." Nor can we with 
any propriety translate " eorl " otherwise 
than " man " in many passages of Anglo- 
Saxon poetry: while the analogous terms, 
— baron and knight, — both of similar im- 
port, prove all these titles to have origi- 
nated in very nrnple notions of distinc- 
tion ; and that at first they marked those 
alone, whose personal prowess had gained 
for them the consideration of si«fi, or youths 
Kar e^ox^iv. Their roots will therefore 
he found in verbs expressive of power or 
procreation ; and they are not to be de- 
rived from prepositions,— a rather ex- 
ploded system of etymology. 

^* I have removed the full point at the 
clq^ of this line, that it may be connect- 
ed with the succeeding one ; which in fact 
b merely a gloss of " prevaricatores legis." 
On the authority of the Harleian and 
Cotton MSS. I have also expunged the 
conjunction beginning the third line (And 
fore. &C.) With these corrections the 
passage is free from obscurity. Dr. Whi- 
taker has totally misconceived its mean- 



Nolite timere eos qui posssunt occidere corpus 
Thus Dowel and Dobet, [devynede*^] and Dobest ' 
And crounede on to be kyng, to culle withoute synne 

1* Both the Museum MSS. unite in 
this reading; and it is clear that Dr. 
Whitaker, by a very excusable oversight, 
has read "dimnede" instead bf "divi- 
nede," (the orthography of his MSS.) 
both here and below. The same mistake 
cKcurs again, p. 163, where Dr. Whitaker 
also reads " dimnede : " 

Ac for the bok Bible, bereth good wit- 

How Daniel dyvinede, and undude the 

Of king Nabugodonosor. 

This species of inaccuracy, which every 
transcriber of early MSS. is more or less 
exposed to, has been productive of end* 
less error in the text of our early poetry. 
I will throw together a few examples 
which have occurred to me while seeking 
for illustrations of the present extracts. 

In a passage from Layamon's version 
of the Brut, Mr. Ellis reads drinen for 

(Ther heo gunnen driven) 

and interprets it "urge" from the Dutch 
driugen. In the same writer, Mr. Turner 
reads nolle for valle. 

(And Walwain gon to valle 
And feoll a there eorthe) 

and interpreU it "headlong." In a sub- 
sequent passage, the same valuable histo- 
rian reads ulode for vlode (flood, water) : 

( An4 the Leo ithan vlode 
Iwende mid me seolve) 

and interprets it " howled." This mis- 
take has engendered another, and caused 
him to interpret the second line " think- 
ing with myself" instead of " went with 
roe." Mr. Ritson, in King Horn, reads 
Ictule for loude ; 

Horn hath loude soune, 
Thurghout uch a tonne, v. 


And again in the same romance a similar 
mistake has disturbed the sense twice, 
within the space of two lines. 

The ship bygan to croude. 

The wyndblew wel londe. v. 1301. 
Mr. Ritson reads eronde and londe ; lea- 
ving the former unexplained, as well he 
might. This term is the modern verb 
** to crowd " in its primitive sense. A 
crowd, a crush (rush, with the aspirate), 
a press, (a re-importation of our old En- 

glish "res" with the labial prefix like 
rim and brim,) or a throng of people, 
had no reference originally, to the multi- 
tude collected, but to the action in which 
this assembly was engaged, — an earnest 
endeavour to move forwards. Chaucer 
gives the verb the same power as the min- 
strel poet : 

O first moving cruel firmament, 
With thy diurnal swegh that croudett ay 
And hurtlest all from Est til Occident, 
That naturally wold hold another way ; 
Thy crouding set the heven in swiche 

At the beginning, &c. v. 1715. 

And again. 

But in the same ship as he hire fond, 
Hire and hire yonge sone and all hire gere, 
He shulde put, and croude hire from the 
lond. V. 3175. 

My friend Mr. R. Taylor informs me 
that in Norfolk, to " crowd a barrow " is 
a common expression, and that a wheel- 
barrow is called a erowdtng-hnrrow. 

The past tense of an Anglo-Saxon 
verb, rather varying in orthography but 
precisely the same in import, occurs in 
the epinieion upon Athelstan's victory; 
where the several attempts to twist it into 
meaning, from the days of old Hunting- 
don downwards, afford an instructive spe- 
cimen of that elegant figure " confusion 
worse confoimded." 

Cread cnear on-flot. 

Ship crouded (drove) afloaU 

Our Saxon vocabularies record no infini- 
tive to which this word may be referred. 
But to return: In The Lay of Dame 
Sirith, Mr. Conybeare has printed ausine 
for amine. 

Not no man so muchel of pyne 
As poure wif that fiUleth in ansine. 

This is the Anglo-Saxon "ansyne," of 
which in ito primitive meaning — appear- 
ance — I know but this example. In the 
modem languages of Europe descended 
from the great Teutonic stock, I believe 
it is almost exclusively confined to the 
sense adopted Jby our early minstrel. 
"Not" which is rendered "has not" is 
the common contraction of " ne wot," no 
man knows, &c. In the same singular 
production we have inon for inow and won 
for tt'oM. 



That wolde nat don as Dobest, [dyvynede] and tauhte 

Thus Dowel and Dobet, and Dobest the thridde 

Crounede on to be kyng, and kepen ous alle 

And reulen alle reaYimes, by here thre wittes 

Bote otherwise [and^^] elles nat, bote as thei three assented 

Ich habbe mi loTerd that is my spouse 
That maiden brougte roe to house 

Mid menske inou. 
He loveth me and ich him wel 
Our loTe is al so trewe as stel 

"With outen wou. 

Mr. Conybeare*s ghMS of the third line : 
*' against decency will I nogbt" destroys 
the sense : the present correction can have 
no obscurity. Wou, which is rendered 
** faili warning," is the Anglo-Saxon " woh 
or woge/* injostice, wrong, either in a 
physical or moral sense ; and is both the 
Ungoage and orthography of Robert of 

For wanne man may do wat he wole and 

unrygt ynou, 
Ofte he bryngth vor coveytyse, to ryghte 

pur wou. p. 314. 

In the form of woghe or wough this term 
is common enough; but Hickes has so 
disguised it in his transcript of the Land 
of Cockayne, as to mtike it obscure both 
to himself and a later editor. 

The pinnes beth fat puddings, 
Rich meat to princes and kings. 
Men may there of eat enog 
All with rigt and nought with wog. 

(AU with right and not with wrong,) 
Hickes, who reads " woy," seeks for its 
origin in "the Cimbric vog, pondus;" 
and Mr. Ellis observes : " the meaning 
of this line seems to be, that meat was 
not weighed out but in abundance, and 
at the disposal of all who chose to seize 
it. Eat, meat. Sax. ette, cibus." The 
quotation from Robert of Gloucester will 
remove every difficulty; or even the 
French (abliau which preserves nearly 
the same idea in rather different lan- 

Si pent Ten et boivre et mangier 
Tut eel qui veulent sanz dangier 
Sanz contredit, et sanz deffencc 
prent chascuns qunnt son cuer pense. 
Barbazan, vol. iv. 177. 

"To resume.--^! would also wish to con- 
sider, that we are indebted to a similar 
mistake for the word *' onen*' in the fol- 
lowing extracts; and without which, I 
leave the solution of their present ob- 
scurities to the happier powers of some 
more experienced glossarist. 

Onen o the sherte 

Hue gurden huem with snerde. 

King Horn, v. 1485. 
Take we the bailifi bi tuenty ant by 

Clappen we of the beiredes an onen o the 
And caste we y the fen. 

Ant SoBga, 19. 

Mr. Ritson in his glossary interprets "an 
onen, anon, forthwith," which the mere 
solution of the phrase into its coBstltuent 
parts, shows to be clearly impossible,-<^«s 
on en. The Anglo-Saxon preposition ^- 
proaching nearest to what I conceive to 
be the genuine orthography of the text 
(oven), at least of those registered in oar 
vocabularies, is "ufan;** whose eompoand 
** abufan," was the immediate senree ef 
the old English " abuven." But as the 
positive "Ufa" or " ufan," (imp. and 
infin.) produced a comparative "nfer" or 
" afera," it will require no extraordinary 
knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon language 
to infer, that^ofer" and "ofera" (re- 
corded in Lye) must have been formed 
from " ofa *' or " ofkn," and that our mo- 
dern "above," the "aboven'' of earlier 
writers, has also been derived from a com- 
pound " abefan." The Danish " oven ^ 
and the Islandic " ofana," both meaning 
above, may be cited as collateral testi- 
mony. The Oeste of King Horn is not 
remarkable for a rigid observance of me- 
trical quantities, or we might supply its 
present deficiencies by reading, an or o» 
oven o the therte. "t>n ufan" will be 
found in any Anglo-Saxon book ceniies el 

» "ne elles'' W. The double negation 
is both out of place and unsupported. I 
will not stop to dispute Mr. Tooke's ety. 
mology of " elles." It shall be reaerved 
for some more fit occasion, when I may 
be called upon to examine "whiles,** 
"amonges," "amiddes," "needes," "al- 
gates," "anightes," "adayes," aU of 
which, like " once, twice, thrice, hence, 
thence," &c have taken that form which 
the grammarians call the genitive abso- 
lute. This law of the Anglo-Saxon lan- 
guage, and in &ct of every sdon from the 
great Teutonic stock, has been wholly 
overlooked by Mr. Tooke. Nor is it men- 
tioned here with a view to disparage the 
great and important services of this distin- 



Icb thonked Thouht tho, that he me so tauhte 

Yut savereth me nat thi sawe quath ich, so me Crist spede 

A more kynde knowyng, coveite ich to huyre 

Of Dowel and of Dobet, and ho Dobest'ti of alle 

Bote Wit woHe the wisse quath Thoaht, wer tho thre dwellen 

£lle8 know ich non that can, in none kynriche 

Thouth and ich thus thre dues, togederes we yeoden*^ 

giiUbcd scholar, but as a collateral proof, 
if such be wanting, of hb Teraci^ in de- 
daring, that all his conclusions were the 
result of reasoning a priori, and that they 
were formed long before he could read a 
line of Gothic oir Anglo-Saxon. To those 
who win be at the trouble of examining 
Mr. Tooke's theory and his own peculiar 
iiiustration of it, it will soon be evident 
that though nO objections can be offered 
to his general results, yet his details, more 
especially those contained in his first to- 
lume, may be contested nearly aa often as 
they are admitted. The cause of this will 
be found in what Mr. Tooke has himself 
related, of the manner in which those re- 
sults were obtained, combined with an- 
other circumstance which he did not think 
it of importance to communicate, but 
which as he certainly did not feel its con- 
sequences he could have no improper 
motive for concealing. The simple truth 
is, that Mr. Tooke, with whom, like every 
man of an active mind, idleness, — ^in his 
case perhaps the idleness of a busy poli- 
tical Ufe, — ranked as an enjoyment, only 
Investigated his system at its two ex- 
tremes, — the root and summit,— the An- 
glo-Saxon, and Bnglbh from the thir- 
teenth century downwards ; and having 
satisfied himself, on a review of its con- 
dition in these two stages, that his pre- 
vious convictions were on the whole cor- 
rect, he abandoned all further examina- 
tion of the subject The former I should 
feel disposed to believe he chiefly studied 
in Lye's vocabulary ; of the latter he cer- 
tainly had ample experience. But in 
passing over the intervening space, and 
we might say for want of a due knowledge 
of those numerous laws which govern the 
Anglo-Saxon grammar, — and no language 
can be familiar to us without a similar 
knowledge — a variety of the fainter lines 
and minor features all contributing to give 
both form and expression to our language, 
entirely escaped him; and hence the faci- 
lities with which his system has been 
made the subject of attack, though in fact 
It ia not the system which has been vul- 
nerable, but Mr. Tooke's occasionally 
loose application of it This note might 
have been spared ; but it has been so much 
the fashion of late to feed upon what 

Leisewitx would call " the corse of Mr. 
Tooke's reputation," that I may stand 
excused for seeking this opportunity of 
offering a counter statement to some opi- 
nions of rather general currency, of which 
the proof shall speedily follow. 

» The Cotton MS. reads *< and Dobest 
of alle;" the Harleian, <<and who doth 
best of alle ; " which, supported as it ap- 
pears to be, by Dr. Whitaker's MS., may 
be the genuine reading. 

* This word, which is also written 
" yode, yede, eode, ede," and occasionally 
printed **gede," is usually derived from 
the Anglo-Saxon ** ge-eode." Unhappily 
for the truth of this conjecture, "ge-eode" 
and *' yeode " are as distinct in meaning 
aa"seem" and "beseem," or << speak" 
and " bespeak," the one being the past 
tense of the compound verb " ge-gan," 
and theother of its simpleprimitive "gan." 
The cause of this mistake it will not be 
difficult to explain. The general analogy 
of our language shows, that the letters I 
and y in early English writers are the 
usual representatives of the Anglo-Saxon 
prefix ge, and occasionally of g. On this 
principle it was natural to infer that 
"yeode" could not be derived from 
" eode " the past tense of " gan ; " and as 
an etymon presented itself in " ge-eode,** 
which appeared to account for the initial 
consonant, the corresponding Saxon term 
was supposed to be found. But every 
Saxon scholar knows, that "eode" and 
"ge-eode," though having a common 
root are essentially different in their im- 
port; and it is equally clear, that the 
former strictly corresponds witii "yeode" 
through all its varied forms of orthogra- 
phy. The certainty of this fact will lead 
us to the knowledge of a peculiar law. in 
the enunciation of certain Saxon words, 
which hitherto has been entirely over- 
looked, or at least misunderstood. It has 
been observed by Dr. Jamieson in his 
Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish 
language (sub lit y.) " That in the south 
of Scotland y consonant is prefixed to a 
variety of words which are elsewhere 
pronounced without it ; as yuk for ache, 
yaiker, an ear of corn, yield, age, for 
eild, yill for ale, yesk, hiccup, for eisk." 
Dr. Jamieson is disposed to consider this 



Disputynge up Dowel, 4<^ye after othere 

And er we were ywar, with Wit gan we mete 

He was long and lene, lyke to non other 

Was no pruyde in hus aparail, ne poverte nother 

Sad of hus semblant, with a softe speche 

Ich thurste mene no matere, to maken hym to jangle 

Bote as ich bad Thouth tho, be mene by twene 

And putte forth som purpos, to prooven hus wittes 

What Dowel was fro Dobet, and Dobest fro hem bothe 

Thenne Thouth in than ^^ty me, seede theese wordes 

War Dowel and Dobet, and Dobest ben in londe 

Her is on wolde wite, yf Wit oouthe teche 

a relic of the Saxon ge or g. However, 
in Sazon — at least as fiir back as our 
knowledge of the language extends, — 
these words had no prefix, and they will 
be found invariably to begin with a 
vowel. But the practice is not confined 
to Scotland. It will be beard more or 
less in all the provincial dialects of En- 
gland, and its general use is still mani- 
fested in some expressions neither obsolete 
jior provincial. The words ** you, your, 
yew (a tree), yean, York," are the Anglo- 
Saxon " eow, eower (in the Northumbrian 
dialect iu, iurre), eow, eanian ,Eoferwic." 
The " yerle, yedc, yerde" (earth, a di- 
stinct word from yard) of early writers, 
and the yowe, (a female sheep) of our 
husbandmen, are the Anglo-Saxon " eorj 
or earl, eode, eard, eow." Every one 
from his own recollection will be able to 
swell this catalogue. I have not leisure 
to pursue this investigation further. In 
a future publication the subject will be 
again referred to, when illustrating the 
power of what is usually termed y con- 

^ This is the only example in these 
extracts, where the article when used in 
an oblique case has retained its ancient 
inflection. Dr. Whitaker's MS. affords 
but few instances of this practice, though 
tlie Harleian copy, as it has been already 
stated, is rather abundant in the obser- 
vance than the omission of it By Laya- 
mon, as far as our specimens go, it is 
almost constantly used ; but Mr. Ellis in 
defining ic to be " the accusative of tfte 
Sax." has been misled by its resemblance 
to " thone or thene," a case which never 
follows the preposition *' to." 

To than kinge com tha biscop. 

Layamon is strict in his attention to this 
law of Anglo-Saxon syntax. It also 
occurs in the " Lay of Dame Sirith *'— a 
production fully worthy of the illustra- 
tions which it has received from Mr. Co- 

nybeare ; but where I think this distin- 
guished Anglo-Saxon scholar has unad* 
visedly conceived it to be a corruption of 
tfiam. Tftan is frequently found as the 
dative case singular of that (the neuter of 
te) I nor is it very improbable that in 
some kingdoms of the Heptarchy, it might 
also have been equivalent to the dative of 
te. It is thus applied in the passage 
quoted from Layamon, who uses it indis- 
criminatel;^ with substantives of either 
gender. Mr. Ritson found it in the Geste 
of King Horn ; where not perceiving its 
power, we may suppose him to have 
uttered a surly pish! and having duly 
execrated the transcriber's negligence, to 
have proceeded to the amendment of hia 
apparently vitiated text. He has accord- 
ingly with great adroitness subjoined it 
to the preceding word; and though by 
this alliance the sense be somewhat 
marred, he may still be said to have made 
of it, " a soldier-like word, and a word of 
exceeding good command." 

Gret men that me kenne, 

Gret wel the gode 

Quene Godeld my moder, 

And seythene hethene king. 

In the glossary ** seythene * 
with ** sithen," and partakes of the same 
interpretation. It will be almost super- 
fluous to add, that we should read : And 
sey thene hethene king ; Tell the heathen 
king. " Then " occurring a few lines 
below, is the accusative already men- 

And say that he shal fonde 
Then deth of myne honde. v. 158. 
From inattention to this obsolete form 
of the prepositive article, — coupled with 
a custom equally ancient, but which has 
rarely been a source of difficulty, — ^an ob- 
scurity has arisen in the language of our 
early writers, which baflled the ingenuity 
of Mr. Tyrwhitt, and has been a cause 
of equal perplexity to Dr. Jamieson. The 

V. 150. 
is classed 





And wbat Ijves thei lyven, and what lawe thei usen 
What thei drede and douhten, dere syre telleth [me] 
Syre Dowel dwelieth quath Wit, nat a daye hennes 
In a castle that Kynde made, of foure kyne thynges 
Of erthe [and] of aier^ yt is made, medled to gederes 

phrase I allude to is one in the recollec- 
tion of every reader of early English 
poetry, and of which one example will 
senre as efficiently as ten thousand. 
And cled him sethin in gude scarlet, 
Forord wele and with gold fret 
A girdel ful riche/or the nones. 
Of perry and of precious stones. 

Ywaine and Gawin. ▼. 1106. 
Mr. Tyrwhitt conceived "nanes" to be 
a cormpdon of " nunc ;" and the full 
phrase, a substitute for the Latin *' pro 
nunc" of the monkish writers. Dr. 
Jamieson,-— on a principle whose appli- 
cation I confess myself at a loss to com- 
prehend, — ^believes it to be allied to the 
Soio- Gothic *< nenna" or " nennas," a 
je hapetrare, poue. To me it appears 
nothing more than a slight variation of 
the Anglo-Saxon ** finr than senes," lite- 
rally /or the once, or as it has been cor- 
rectly rendered without a knowledge of 
the etymon, ** for the occasion.'* This 
we have already seen might have been 
written, ** for then senes," and by analogy, 
« fyr then anis," •* for then ones," or " for 
then once." Its progress to the form in 
which it is found in the example cited, 
will be best Ulustrated, by producing 
similar instancesiof orthographic disguise. 
And they were inly glad to fille his purse 
And maken him gret festes at the nale. 
Chaucer, v. 6931. 
And than satten some and songe (U the 
nale. Piers Plowman. 

Thai hadde.woundes ille, 
jit (he nende. 

Sir Tristram, p. 186. 
Mr. Tyrwhitt united with Skinner in sup- 
posing nale to be a corruption of ** inn- 
ale i" but it is clear that " at the nale " 
and " at the nende" have been trans- 
formed ftosfx ** at than ale " and "at than 
ende." This transference of the final 
consonant to the initial vowel of the suc- 
ceeding word, is frequent with the inde- 
finite article; where its forsaken fellow 
having undergone no change by the ope- 
ration, there was little difflrulty in per- 
ceiving the original phraseology. But a 
amilar dismemberment of the indefinite 
neuter, which produced (as may have 
been the case in the preceding examples) 
wjiat the German grammarians call the 

umlaut or a change of the vowel letter, 
has been an equally fertile source of vex- 
ation to our philological antiquaries. I * 
will offer an illustration of this practice in 
a couplet transcribed from the fly-leaf of 
a MS. in the British Museum (but whose 
number I omitted to note), and which 
formerly belonged to a countess of Oxford 
(as I believe). 
Thys boke is one and Godes kors ys 

They that tfie ton take, God gife them 

the toder. 

Dr. Jamieson, sub voc. " tothir," has 
observed of this expression^ that ** not- 
withstanding its resemblance to itvrepoe, 
the second, this seems to be merely other 
with t, or as some think <Ae prefixed after 
a vowel, like ta for a : 
Thus-gat throw dowbil undyrstandyng. 
That bargane come til sic endyng 
That the ta past dissawyt was. 
** where t is used after the, to avoid the 
concourse of two vowels.'* But in either 
of these cases I shall have no hesitation 
in declaring that we have simply that on, 
thai oder, that a. In Dr. Jamieson's 
second example " ta" has clearly the 
power of twa ; but whether it be a cor- 
ruption or a varied orthography of that 
word I leave to his own decision. 
The Quene hirself fast by the altare 

Haldand the melderinhyr devote handis, 
Hyr ta fute bar. 

After this explanation, I may stand ex- 
cused for suggesting, that in some future 
edition of Sir Tristram, it would be as 
well to correct these lines of the Sup- 
plement : 

That tone schule be blake, 

That tother white so snewe. p. 195. 

s> Dr. Whitaker has ohierved upon this 
passage : " In this rea<]Ung all the MSS. 
and the printed copies agree. Yet as in 
the enumeration of the elements, air and 
wind make one, and fire is not mentioned, 
I can have no doubt that ' fnyer,' the 
original reading, has been misread by the 
first transcriber^* aier ' or * ayer.* " This 
emendation would only make the allite- 
ration more deffective than it i& at present; 
and we may suspect Langland to have 


With wynd and [with] water, wittyliche enjoynede 

Kynde hath closed ther ynne, craflilyche with alle 

A lemman that he Idveth wel, lyke to hymselve 

Anima hue hatte, to hure hath envye^ 

A prout prikyre of Fraunce, princeps hujus mundi 

And wolde wynne hure away, with whiles yf he myghte 

And Kynde knoweth this wel, and kepeth hure the betere 

And dooth hure with Syre Dowel, Duk of thes Marches 

Dobet is here damesele, Syre Doweles douhter 

1*0 serve that lady leely, bothe late and rathe 

Dobest ys above bothe, a bisshopes peer 

And by hus lemynge is ladde, that ilke lady Anima 

The constable of that castel, that kepeth hem alle 

Is a wys knyght with alle, Syre Inwit he hatte 

And hath fyve faire sones, by hus furste wyf 

Syre Seewel Syre Seiwel, Syre Huyrewel tie hende 

Syre Worchewel with thyn hand, a wight man of strengthe 

And Syre Godfaith (rowel, grete lordes alle 

Theese fyve ben ysett, for to savye Anima ^ 

Til kynde com oilier seynde, and kepe hure hymself 

What lyves thyng b Kynde quath ich, [kanst'^*] thow me telle 

Kynde is creature quath Wit, of alle kyne thynges. 

Fader and formour, of al that forth groweth 

The wiche is God grettest, that gynnynge hadde nevere^ 

Lord of lyf and of lyght, of lysse* and of payne 

Angeles and alle thyng, aren at hus wil 

Man>7 is hym most lyk, of membres and of face 

And semblable [most] in soule to God, bote yf synne hit make 

been more concerned for the observance Be war thenne of Wratthe that wickede 

of thu law, than the rigid propriety of ehrewe, 

his chemical nomenclature. If we read For he hath envy to hym that in thin 

" fuyer " in the present instance, we herte sytteth. 

ought on tiie same principle to rea^ j,^ Whitaker paraphrases the parage in 

I* ir. V^^ l^^'^'T^ P*^!? '^'*"?'" the text ; " With her is an enemy;" which 

the alliteration be sadly crippled by ihe j, manifestly erroneous. To prevent thia 

operation. association. Kind committed Anima to the 

That is with and water, wynd and fuyer guardianship of Sir Dowell. 

the furthe. p. 150. 3S can. W. 

^ The Museum MSS. support the ^ The Harleian MS. destroys the alii- 

present text. Caligula A. xi, reads teration^ by reading, " that synne dude 

Anima she hatte, ac Envy hure hateth "^i^The Harleian MS. in common with 

A proud pnkiere of Fraunce, ftc- Crowley's text, and CaliguU A. xi. reads 

which I take to be a later correction. " blysse." The Cotton MS. agrees with 

The reader will not consider the idiom Dr. Whitaker. 

of the text to be a literal version of a ^ Dr. Whitaker observes on this pas- 
modem Gallicism, d lui a envie ; for in sage : " This expression strongly illu- 
early English poetry this term is never strates the tendency of image- worship to 
applied except in malam partem. An- anthropomorphism." But with every de- 
other instance of the same idiom occurs ference to Dr. Whitaker's authority, upon 
at p. 124. a subject where he and his order -may 


And as.ihow suzt the BOime> som tyme for doudes 

May nat shyne ne shewe, on shawes on erthe 

Right so letteth lecherie, and other liither synnes 

That God seweth nat synful men, and sufireth hem mysfare 

As some hongen hem self» and other while adrencheth 

God wol nat of hem wite, bote leteth hem y worthe 

As the Sauter seith, by such synful shrewes 

£t demisi eos secundum desiderium eorum • 

LfOke suche luther men, lome^ ben ryche 

Of gold and of other good, bote Godes grace hem faileth^ 

Ac for thei loveth and byleyveth, al here lyf tyme 

More in catel than in Kynde, that alle kyne thynges wroghte 

The wiche is bothe love and lyf, and lasteth withouten ende 

Inwitt and alle whittes, closed ben therynne 

By love and by leaute, ther by ly veth Anima 

And lyf ly veth by Inwitt, and lerynge of Kynde ^ 

Inwitt is in the hefd, [and] '^ Anima [in] the herte 

And muche wo worth hym, that Inwitt mysspeyneth 

For that is Godes owen good, hus grace and hus tresour, &c. 

( Whitaker, p. 166—175.) 

Thenne hadde Wit a wif, was bote Dame Studie 
That fill lene lokede, and lif holy semede 
Hue was wonderiiche wroth, that Wit so me tauhte 
Al staryenge Dame Studie, stumeliche seide 

claim a right to speak decisively, I should 'And yet the Englesche ofte and lome. 

rath«r concave this image-worship to be xhe common practice of Anglo-Saxon 

an effect and not the cause of anthropo- poetry countenances the fonner version ; 

moq^hism. Every pious and enlightened ^^r is it very likely, that a transcriber of 

C^tbohc mdignantly repels the charge of guffident intelligence to supply the pre- 

image-worship; and justifies those offen- ^^ ^^^^d have left the passage in its 

rive creations of Ae painter's pencil, and p^ggent corrupt state. A production 

the sculptor s chisel, wh ch shock the ^^^i ^^ ^^y, ^^ Chronicle has fur- 

morbid sensibihties of a n^d Protestant, ^^,^^4 „^ ^j^h the latter conjecture : 
by the following text of Scripture : *< So 

God created man in his own image ; in Parvink he might be, 

the image of God created he him." Gen. And that for thinges thre, 

chap. i. ver. 27. He ussid oft and lome. 

» The Cotton MS. reads ilomei the Ritson's Ancient Songs, p. 40. 

Harleian glosses it by reading " comenly ^ mv i* j .1. .• /• n 

ben." Dn Whiteker interprets the pas- . "" ^^^'' l^'^V"^ ^^ correction follow. 

^^ u ti,^„ «,« ^«u :„ fi.,«;»„wi . •» «r.A '"8 >^ !»»▼« been inserted on the joint 

sai^, "they are nch in furniture and ^^^j^^^j^ ^^ ^^^ Museum MSS. To 
in his glossary gives "loma ntpe^x; «o . j lu v. "*«»cuu« j«oo. zw 

«. heir-loom."" I have alre^iy explained "»"»*' o^T^'-IS.. S^W,S? ^^^ 

tWatenn, p. 5. note', of this volume. I will ffg^"".^" ."J, .»S„ !i,™.!?T.^ «^ 

take thi. opportunity of observing, that ,. ^^ n*"" ''««° •dopted m the Ant 

the transcribe of the English Chfinicle ?."f- . ,»"* P«**Pf „"« '^^^ ""^ * 
there quoted, ha, rather'^eorrupted the «"i5"wv?i.W rf«i^ thi. ».«.« 

text by an omi«ion, than by an interpo- -„ ^^''Z '^'j}^„t ^^^^^t 

H^J We ought either to read. ^ ,y.^^ ^u^^r^.^L^^l^Zk'^' 

And yet the Englesche ofte and Home, (Nature). 
or (what would save the metre) '^ as. W. 


Wei art thow wys quath hue to Wit, suche wiBdome [to] shewe 

To eny fol other flatorere, other to frentik pujde 

And seide Nolite mittere, men margerie perles 

A monge hogges that haven, hawes at wille 

Thei don bote dr&velyn theron, draf were hem levere 

Than al the preciouse perreje, that eny prince weldeth 

Ich segge hit by suche quath Studie, that shewen by here werkus 

[Thei 3'] loveth Und and lordshup, and lykyng of [heore] body more 

Than holynesse other hendenesse, other ai that seintes techeth 

Wysdom and Wit now, is nat worth a carse 

Bote hit be carded with covetyse, as dothers kemben wolle 

Ho that can contreeve and caste, to deceyve the puple 

And lette with a loveday, Treuthe and bygyle hym 

That can coveyty an caste thus, aren cleped into counsail 

Qui sapiunt nugas et crimina lege vocantur 

Qui recte sapiunt lex jubet ire foras. 

He is reverenced and robed, that can robbe the puple 

Thorwe &llas and false questes, and thorw fykel speche 

Job the gentil and wys, in hus gestes wytnesseth 

What shal worthe'of suche, wenne thei lyf leten 

Ducunt in bonis dies suos et in fine descendunt ad infemum 

The Sauter seith the same, of alle suphe ryche 

Jbunt in progenie patru suorum & usq ; in etemii non videbut lumen 

£t alibi — Ecce ipei peccatores & cet 

So holy lettrure [seith swiche'^] lordes been thees shrewes 

Tho that [God] most good gyveth, most greve Ryght and Treuthe 

Que perfecisti destruxerunt justitiam 

And hadotes for [heore] haidotrie, aren holpen er nudy poure 

And that is no ryght ne reson, for rather meti sholde . 

Help hem that hath nouht, than tho that han no neede. 

Ac he that hath holy writ, aye in hus mouthe 

And can telle of Treuthe, and of the twelve apostels 

Other of the passion of Crist, other of purgatorie peynes 

Lytel is he alowed there fore, among lordes of festes 

Nowe is the manere [at^'^] the mete, when mynstralies ben stylle 

The lewede ayens the lered, the holy lore to dispute 

And tellen of [the] Trinite, how two slowe the thridde 

And brynge forth ballede rescues, and taken Bemarde'^ to witnesse 

** that W. •* The Museum MSS. unite in this 

•Withe W. Though I suspect the reading. Dr. Whkaker reads "alte the," 

Doctor's MS. reads toicht, . It is fre- which is an unauthorized pleonasna. See 

quently difficult to decide between the Note**. 

claims of these two letters, c and t, and ** The initial letter of Bernard's name 

the context must be our only guide. probably secured for him this distinction. 

The reader may therefore make his elec> We can hardly have an allusion here to 

don between wicAe and turiche, remem- those riming sermons delivered at the dose 

bering that one is a contracUon of " hwa of his Ufe ; and it is well known that the 

ilc *' and the other of « swa ilc.'* Abbot of Claiiraux was a aealvus oppo<- 



And pntteth forth presompdons, to preoven the sothe 

Thus'* thei drevelen atte'^ deyes, the Deyte to knowe 

And gnawen God with gorge, when here guttes fullen 

Ac the earful niai crie, and quaken atte'^ gate 

Bothe a fyngred and a furst^^, and for defaute spille 

Ys non so hende to have hjm jn, bote hote hym go ther God is 

Thenne semeth hit to my syght, [bi swiche^^] as so biddeth 

Crod is nat in that horn, ne hus help neither 

Lytel loveth he that lorde, that lente him that blisse 

That so parteth with the poure» a parcel wenne hym nudeth 

nentof the scholastic subtleties satirised in 
the text I perceive, Warton enumerates 
among the contents of the Digby MS. ** Le 
dix de Setnte Bernarde;** which may by 
possibility throw some light on the subject. 
The British Museum contains a variety of 
these doctrinal " ballede resones," which 
are usually attributed to the Lollards. 

^ The Harleian MS. reads: 
Thus tho dreven forth the 'day the dep- 

pere forto knowe. 
And gnaweth God with goude ale whan 

her gottes-Aillep. 
Crowley and Calig. A. xi. also support the 
pretest text, by reading ''whanne her 
gattes ben folle." But I should prefer the 
more expressive language of Vespas. B.xvi. 

And knawen God with gorge "while thei 
heore" guttes fullen. 
^ I have already had occasion to notice 
some of the changes to which the preposi- 
tive article was subjected, previous to the 
general reception of its present indecli- 
nable substitute. The passage before us 
affords another illustration of its many dis- 
guises and corruptions. ** Atte deyes/' and 
"atte gate" below (at. the deyes, at the 
gate), are the diminished forms of "at 
then deyes — at then gate." They did not, 
however, at once "Jump to this conclu- 
sion;" there was an intermediate step in 
the process. 

Tcfa am ocupied eche day, halyday and 

With ydct tales atten ale, and other wyle 

in churches. 

P. Plouhman, p. 111. 
For hit beth bote boyes, loUeres {Uten ale. 

lb. p. 157. 
Yor hys poer was lute worth, vor he gef 

hem atten ende 
Four thousend pound of sterlynges hem 

agen to wende. 

R. of Gloucester, p. 294. 
This phrase in its full form, " at the nende," 
has been already given in an extract horn 
Sir Tristram. For the reference to Ro- 

bert of Gloucester, I am indebted to Mr. 
Tyrwhitt, who, in saying "atte or per- 
haps atten," has been frequently corrupted 
into "at the," afSrms the converse of the 
fact. He evidently understood both these 
expressions to be the antiquated orthogra- 
, phy of "ati" for, in a note on verse 1537, 

Now shineth it, and now it shineth fast, 

he observes : " Perhaps Now itte, 8te. Itte 
may have been a dissyllable formerly at 
well as atte." Dr. Whitaker's MS. is not 
altogether free from pleonastic errors in the 
uae of atte. Above we have seen " atte the 
mete;" at p. 8. we have "atte the barre," 
and in pages 72, 210, 350, 360, 409, we 
have "atte the laste." These are all the 
examples which have occurred to me ; but 
"atte barre," &c is frequent, and "atte 
last" or "at the laste " will be fbund with- . 
out end. 

*s The Harleian MS. reads "an hon- 
gred and aferst:" the Cotton, "of hongret 
and athrest;" and Dr. Whitaker interprets 
the passage, both pinched in his Jlngers 
and frost-hitten ; an exposition which 
would have enraptured the late Mr. Hen- 
shall. I will venture to suggest, that the 
terms in the text, which the alliteration 
decides to be the genuine reading, are de- 
rived from af-hingrian, eturire, and af- 
thyrstan, sitire. These words are wanting 
in Lye; but with the prefix "of" instead 
of "af" they are to be found in every An- 
glo-Saxon vocabulary. At pp. 289, 372, 
the context is so decisive, that Dr. Whita- 
ker was compelled on both occasions to 
abandon his own gloss. Afunti is the 
language of King Horn : 

Thou shench us with the vurste, 
The beggares bueth afurste. v. 1 120. 

Where Mr. Ritson explains it "at first." 
Had Warton been guilty of this very ex- 
cuseable error, should we not have heard ? 
"Your gross and unaccountable stupidity, 
Mr. Warton, shall for once save you. This 
is too bad." (See Obs. on the H. E. P.) 
* to suche. W. 


Ne were mercy in mene men, more than in ryght ryche 

Menj time mendynans, myghte gon a fyngred 

And BO seith the Sauter, ich sauh^^ hit in memento 

Ecce audivimus earn caritatem in efirata 

Invenimus earn in campis siLvae 

Clerkus and knyghtes, carpen of God ofte 

And haveth hym muche in hure mouthe, ac mene men in hertc 

Freres and faitours, han founde np suche questiones 

To plese withe proute men, sitthe the pestelences 

[And prechen at sente Poules, in pure envye of clerkes*'] 

That folk is nouht ferm in the feith, ne free of here goodes 

Ne sory for here synnes, so is pryude en hansed 

In religion and [in 3 al the reame, among ryche and poure 

That preyeres han no power, thees pestelences to lette 

For Grod is def now a dayes, and deyneth nouht ous to huyre 

And good men for oure gultes, he ai to grynt to dythe 

Yut thees wreches of thys worlde, is non whar by other 

Ne for drede of eny deth, with draweth hem fro pruyde 

Ne parteth with the poure, as pure charite wolde 

Bote in gayenesse and in glotenye, forglotten here goodes 

And breketh nat here bred to the poure, as the book hoteth 

Ac the more he hath and wynneth, the world at hus wille 

And lordeth in leedes^S the lasse good he [deleth*^] 

Tobie tauhte nat so, taketh hede ye ryche 

How he tolde in a tjrme, and tauhte hus sone dele 

Si tibi sit copia, abundanter tribue 

Si autem exiguum, illud impertiri libenter stude 

And this is no more to mene, bote ho so muche good weldeth 

Be large therof while hit laste, to leedes that ben needy 

Yf yow have lytel [leve**] sone, loke by thy lyve 

Get the love ther with [here,] thauh thou fare the werse 

^ The Harleian MS. reads "y say"; by what Mr. Todd would call '<a pleasant 

the Cotton **i sai," which is but a varied misapprehension" takes occasion to ob- 

form of the same word. Langland is not serve : *' This evidently points at some oer- 

constant in his orthography of the past nipt minister of Edward III." But aa 

4ense of <*to see;" he writes it indiscri- Langland or his hero could not Me whether 

minately sauh, seih, and say, though Dr. Mode's conductor were man, woman or 

Whitaker's MS. (on the whole) inclines to child, we may venture to call the I>octor*s 

the first as the fiivourite standard : inference, a non iequiturf as Partridge hath 

Ac ich shul seye as ich teih, slepyng as it 41 This line fromVesp. B. xvi. also oc- 

^^^' P- ^ *• curs in the Harleian MS. and is authorised 

The kynge from consail cam and callyd by Caligula A. xi. and Crowley. 

after Mede, ^ The Harleian MS. reads, "And 

And sent for to tee hure, ac ich say nat lordes and ledes ;" the Cotton, " And lord 

hyra that ladde hure. p. 44. is in ledes," which I take to be the ge- 

Dr. Whitaker renders the last passage : ""«* I^gth W 
<*Now the kingcame from council and called « i!«Il w ' 

for Mede : / do not tay who led her:* And * 


Ac lout no lord ue lewed man, of suche lore [nou^*]] to hure 

Bote lythen bow they my^te leme lest good to spene 

And so lyvenlordes now, and leten hit a Dowel 

For is no Wit worth now, bote hit of wynnynge soune 

Forthi quath hue to Wit be war, holy writ to shewe 

Amonges hem that ^ven, hawes at wille 

The wiche is a lykynge and a lonst^, and love of the worlde 

An wanne Wit was whar, what Studie menede 

Ich myghte gete no grejrn, of Wittes grete wittes 

Bote al laohwynge he lotede, and loked up on Studie 

Sem3rnge that ich sholde, by sechen hure of grace 

When ich was war of hus wille, to that womman ich louteds 

And seide mercy ma dame, youre man shal ich worthe 

As longe as ich lyve, bothe Lite and rathe 

And for to worche youre wil, the while my lyf duyreth 

With that ye kenne me kyndeliche, to knowe what is Dowel 

For thi meeknesse quath hue, and for thi mylde speche 

Ich shal the kenne to Clergie, my cosyn that knoweth 

AUe kyne konnynges, and conisynges of Dowel 

Of Debet and Dobest, for doctor he is yknowe 

And of sc^pture the [scilfulest^7,] and scryyaynes were try we 

For-hue is syb to the seven ais, and also my soster 

And Cleregies wedded wif, as wys as hym selve 

Of [lore^*] and of letterure, of lawe and of reson 

So with that Cleregie can, and counsail of scripture 

Thou shalt conne and knowe, kendeliche Dowel 

* non. W. Bnt now is frequently thus . The editor of Sir Trli tram hM reversed 
misprinted : the mistake by substituting turn for noru 

An .unter'wt nuyede me. now ende 0.nhardiiiwi.tnon[non]«e. p.171. 

will ich make. Tl^c Glossary explains "non are," now 

P. Plowman, p. 61. ot or first; but the context shows the 

genuine reading to be : non are, none 

Where Dr. Whitaker by reading << non," gelbre. 

is tarctd to offer the following ambiguous «s xhe Cotton MS. reads, "A lykynge 

imaphrase : "I care not Co show the co- in lust,!' which I should prefer. 

Jonr of this case lest it do me harm, and c tkilAil. W. There is some obscurity 

therefore I wUl make no ende of it." In in the construction of this passage, which 

Che following passage : wUI account for Dr. Whitaker's Utirul im- 

Nou ship by the flode, tcrpretadon of " Scripture," and hU con- 

Hane dayes gode. King Horn, v. 14S. wquent variation from the strict import 

' ^ e > of the text We ought in this line to re- 

Ifr. RiCioB reads «non." And again» peat the auxiliary rerb of the preceding 

•p« A»^ .<^o VirV«.«nii dause: "for doctor he is yknowe» and 

To day hath sire Fykenild, , . ^ Scripture the sdlfiilest." It is 

TweddeA the mf Rimemld, i^ from thV^text that L^gland hM 

Kviirrt^J'Jl^'*' ^^S^idSSl Ae saciS writin^fnd, with 

He haveth do the gyle. ^^ p^p^^^ ^^^ ^^ Jj ^j^ ^^^ 

Ur. Ritson reads ''non," and interprets rical combinations, wedded this imaginary 

the line " Do not torment thyself'; instead being to Clergy or Theological Learning. 

«r, " Know now that during this time." « love. W. 



Thenne was ich al so fayn, as foul of fair morwenynge 

Gladder than gleoman, that gold hath to [gyfte^^] 

And askede of hure the heye way, wher that Cleregie dwelte 

And tel me some tokne quath ich, for tyme is that ich wende 

Aske the heye wey quath hue, hennes to Sufire^^ 

Bothe wele and moche woe, yf thow wolt leme 

And ryd forth by richesse, and reste nouht ther ynne 

Yf thow coveity to be riche, to cleregie comst thow nevere 

Bothe wommon and wyn, wratthe yre and slewthe 

Yf thow hit use other haunte, have God my treuthe** 

To Clergie shult thow nevere come, ne know what ys Dowel 

Ac yf thou^* happe quath hue, that thow hitte on Clergie 

And hast understondyng, what he wolde mene 

Sey to hym thy self, oveer see my bokes 

And seye ich grette wel hus wif, ich wrot hure a byble 

And sette hure to sapience, and to the Sauter glosede 

Logyk ich lerede hure, and al the lawe after 

Alle the musons [unisons?] in musyk, ich made hure to know^ 

Plato the poete, ich putte hym ferst to booke 

Aristotle and other, to arguen ich tauhte 

Grammere for gurles, ich gart furst [to] wryte 

And bet hem with a baleyse^^, bote yf thei wolde leme 

Of alle kyne craftes, ich contreevede here tooles 

Of carpentrie of kerveres^, and contrevede the compas 

^ ^ste. W. gyftes. H. ' a verb was formed, which is also used by 

^ Instead of following Dr. Whitaker's Langland. 

paraphrase, "Inquire the way which leads y j ^ chalenged in chapitel hous as 

to Suffer, and to pass through both weal ,ch a child weref 

ttdwoe;" we ought to read. "Inquire And tefeywrf in the bar ers and no breche 

the way, &c to Suffer both weal and woe," . ^ *- J«- *, ok 

•' This line is omitted in the Cotton ^^ ^^^^^' P' **' 

MS. ; the Harleian reads, " So God have The original French term is usually 

my truthe." written Balai or Balaye ; but the form it 

<s "Bote yf it" Harl. MS. acquired in English would induce a be- 

** Dr. Whitaker interprets " baleyse '* lief that the earlier orthography, or per- 
il tirap. 'The following extract from haps that of Normandy, was Balais. In 
Matthew Paris will supply us with a the same manner it might be comjeetttrtd 
more correct interpretation, and, except that our obsolete "monies" was taken 
in the page of Langland, is the only re- from monnois or monnais (though these 
cord of the wor^ I have been able to dis- words do not occur in the French voca- 
cover. " Vestibns igitur spoliatns cum bularies); for it yet remains to be proved 
luis militibus, similiter indumentis spoUa^ that the former ever had a plural signifi* 
tis, ferens in mann virgam quam vulga- cation in contradistinction to " money.'* 
liter BaMs appellamus, intrarit Capi- Thus too we have made (in more recent 
tttlum, et oonfitens culpam suam, .... a times) a noun plural of riches (richesse), 
singulis fratribus dlscipUnas nuda came and nothing is more common than to con- 
Bttscepit*', p. 848. In the Glossary, Watt nect the " eaves *' of a house with a verb 
has thus illustrated this expression. "Ba- in the plural number, though derived from 
9eUf Virgam quam vulgariter Bakia ap* the Anglo-Saxon efese, margo. In Somer- 
pellamus a Gallico Balaye soopa. Ita enim setshire this last word is enounced " of- 
ct adhuc Norfoldenses mei vocant virgam fice.** 

mijorem etexpluribus longioribusque vi- ^ This reading is supported by Crow- 
minibus; quali utuntur psedagogi seve- ley's text, and all the MSS. except the 
riorti in acholis.** From the substantive. Cotton ( VespasiaD, B. zvL), which readsj 


And oast out by squire, both lyne and levell 

Thus thorw my lore beth men ylered, thauh ich^loke dymme, 

Ac Theologie hath teened me, ten score tymes 

The more ich muse ther on, the mystiloker hit semeth 

And the deppere ich devine, the deerker me thynketh hit. 

(Whitakeryp. 18S— 190.) 

And he soiled hure soue, and setthen he seide we have 
A wyndow a worcheng, wol stonden ous ful hye 
Wolde ye ^ase the gable, and grave ther youre name 
In masse and in matyns, for Mede we shuUeth synge 
Soleuliche and [softeliche^S] as for a sustre of oure order. 

(lb. p. 40.) 

Thenne cam Covetyse, ich can nat hym discryve 

So hongerliche and so holwe, hervy ^^ hym self lokede 

He was bytellbrowede and babeiiupped, whit two blery eyen 

And as a letherene pors, lolled his chekus 

Al sydder than ys chyn, ychiveled for elde 

As bondemenne^^ bacon, hus herd wasyshave 

Whit hus hod on his heved, and hus hatte bothe 

In a toren tabard, of twelve wynter age 

[But yif a lous coude lepe, i leve as I trowe 

" Of cirpentrie and of corvyng i contra- cetaary to Jw tify hit paraphrase, or to dc- 
▼ede the eompaM **— a manUSett improve- clare bis inability to give any other 

ing to the passage than ** his beard was 

** sothliche. W. no better shaven than the ill-dressed 

** The Cotton MS. reads, "So hongri bacon of slaves." This Anglo-Saxon ibrm 

and holewe, hervy was his name;" which — menne (manna. S.>— where we now 

coupled with the printed text, '* So bun- use men't, — ^is frequent in Dr. Whitaker's 

gerly and holwe, sire hervy him loked," MS. ; the nominative plural being always 

gives a strong corroboration to Dr Whi- nun: 

So hungry he lokede, syre hervy and And maken him myiie with other menne 
holwe. goodes. 406. 

„ n. urvt^i. .V ji- ^ banms and burgeif and bonde men of 

'^'^^T^Tn^''?^ thwnpes. 11. 

given tn hl« MSB. B. and C. and these ^nd sith b^emenne sones ban be made 
agree with Crowley's text, and Caliguhi bisshopes. 79. 

was pyoriveuo. j^g^ 212, 217, 219, 282, 861, 895, 401. 

But in these Isiler versions the image has Dr. Whitaker's MS. however is not con- 

nndeigone a revision. The Cotton MS. stant in the observance of this form. An 

reads : " As a bedemonnes baken his berd^ approximation to the modem genitive 

was ishave," giving the substantive bede- plural will be found in pages 11, 99, 129, 

man in the genitive singuhv, for the ge- 154, 157, 938,250, 386. 

iiitiv« plonl of the present text Had The croft battecoveytc nat menn«(i cattel 
Dr. Whitaker been aware et this pecu- nc here wyvsfc 199. 

liaiity, lit would not hsvt thought it ne- 




He scholde nougt walke on that welth thredbare'**] 

Ich have be coveitons quath this caityf, ich by know hit here 

For some tyme ich served, Symme at the style ^ 

And was is prentys yplyght^y hus profyt to waite 

Furst ich lemed to lye, a lesyng other tweye 

Wiekedliche to weye«S was my furst lesson 

To Wy and to Winchestre, ich wente to the faire 

With many merchandises, as my maistres heghte 

Ne hadde the grace of Gyle, gon among my ware 

Hit had been unsold this seven yer, so me God helpe 

Ich drow me among drapers, my donet to leme 

To drawe the lisure a longe, the lenger it semed 

Among the riche rayes, ich rendered a lesson, &c 

Ac meny day men telleth, bothe monkes and chanouns 

Han ride out of a ray, hure ruel uvel holde 

[Lederes of loveddies, and landes purchassed^] 

And priked aboute on palfrais, fro places [to^^] maners 

An hepe of houndes at his ers, as he a lord were 

And bit his knave knele, that shall his coppe holde 

He loketh aUe louring, and lorden^* hym calleth. 


** These lines are inserted on the aa- 
ihority of the Cotton MS.; the Harleian 
MS. reads, 
Bote a lous couthe lepe yleve it as y 

He schold no^ wander on that velte it 
was so dredbare. 

**atte style. Harleian MS. 

^ It is to this source we most trace a 
word of frequent occurrence in early En- 
glish poetry "Apliht" or"Aplight", which 
Mr. Ritson interprets — complete-'-'^peffeci 
—and of which he has declared, <*the 
etymology of this word cannot be ascer- 
tained." That its etymology could not 
be ascertained by Mr. Ritson will not be 
matter of surprise, when we remember that 
Dr. Jamieson has left it with the same 
▼ague and unsatisfactory definition. The 
obscurity I conceive can only lie in a oom- 
inon disguise — sudi as we find in the 
words MMiy, atkep, a kmrntbtg — while the 
ftiU form would be «an pliht," and the 
phrase itself synonymous with in toih or 

He com yn at newegate, y telle yt ou 

A gerland of leves on ys bed y dyht of 

grene. Anc. Songs, p. 10. 

Lybeaus answerede aplyght. 

Met. Rom. vol. iL p. S4. 
So laste the tumament apliht 
Fro the morwe to the night, p. 1 78. 

The only passage which would appear to 
militate against this explanation is the 
following from the king of Tars : 
He lokede as a wylde lyon-— 
So he ferde forsothe a pliht, 
Al a day and al a niht p. 161. 
But those who are best acquainted with 
our early |>oetry will not be surprised at 
such a pleonasm, when the advantage of 
a rhime is concerned ; and the same vo- 
lume affbrds us an example of thu care- 
less practice strictly parallel. 

Jentle and jolef forsothe ywis. 

No man among hem ther nys. p. 26b, 
In this passage " ywis " is not a verb, but 
the Anglo-Saxon adverb " ge-wis/' etr- 
talnly, and ought never to be printed— as 
I fear has been the case more than once 
in these volumes through inadvertency'— 
without the hyphen or as two words : T 
wis or I wis. 

Ure feder that in hevene Is, 

That is al sothfol I wis (read i-wis.) 
See vol. i. p. SI. 

^ Wikkedly to wrye as my ferst lesM». 

^ This line is inserted on the authority 
of the Museum MSS. and is supported by 
Caligula A. xi« and Crowley. 

••into. W. 

M Dr. Whitaker's MS. fluctuates in its 
orthography of this word between lorden 
and lordayne. The context will always 


Honger hent in haste, Wastour by the mawe 

And wrang hym by the wombe, that al watered hus eyen 

He buffated Uie Brutener, aboute the chekes 

That he loked lyk a lanterne, al hus lyf after. 

(WkUaker, ^.ISI.y 

Out of the west as it were, a weynche as me thouhte 
Cam walkynge in the way> to hdleward he lokede 
Mercy hihte^^ that mayde^ a mylde thyng with alle 
And a ful benygne burde, and buzoln of speche 
Heore sustre as hit semede, cam softly walkynge 
Evene out of the est, and westwarde he thouhte 
A comely creature^ and dene Trenthe sheo hihte 
For the vertne that here folwede, afered was he nevere 
Whan theos maydenes^^ metten, Mercy and Treuthe 
Ayther axed of other, of this grete wonder 
Of the deone and deorknesse^ &o* 


prerent its being confounded with *' lor- 
dene/* the genitive case plund of " lord." 
* The use of this word in Chaucer, 
for which at present we have no adequate 
syinmym, induced Mr. Tyrwhitt to con- 
sider it as a species of anomalous verb, of 
wliich I beHeve no language will afford a 

Of whiche two Ardte highte that on» 
And he that other highte Palanum. 
T. 1016. 

'* It is difficult," he observes, '* to deter- 
mine what part of speech < highte' is; 
but upon the whole I am inclined to con- 
sider it a word of very singular form, a 
verb active with a passive signification. 
See V. 1560. 

For I dare not be knowe min owen shame, 
But ther as I was wont to highte Ardte. 
Now highte I Philostrat not worth a mite. 

Where * I highte ' must signify / am tuM- 
ed ; as in theverse preceding, * to highte ' 
fignilies to be eaUed, According to this 
hypothesis, in the present instance, and in 
ver. 618, S62, where 'highte' signifies 
wu catted, it is put for 'highted'— and 
in V. 3097, 

(Betwizen hem was maked anon the 

That highte Matrimonie or Mariage) 

where it signifies U etdled, for 'highteth.' 
It should be observed, that the Saxon 
* heten, voeore, promittere,' from whence 
'highte' u derived, is a rerb active of 
the common form, and so is 'highte ' it- 
self when it means to promise." In tliil, 

Mr. Tyrwhitt has been partly misled by 
our Saxon vocabularies. *' Hatan" ought 
not to be rendered by a Latin verb active; 
for that language, like our own,- can only 
translate it by a verb passive^ or an un- 
wieldy paraphrase. Perhaps it would be 
better in our glossaries, to adopt the latter 
course; and interpret "hatan" to have for 
a nam e a s it would prevent the unavoid- 
able confusion of the two coi\jugations, 
and save the verb from being regarded as 
" a verb active with a passive significa- 
tion." — I leave to some future editor of 
Chaucer, the solution of this anomaly in 
Mr.Tyrwhitt's text — a verb whose present 
and past. tenses are UteraUy the same. 
Langland's present tense, is "hatte : " 

Is a wys knyght with alle, Syie Innutt he 

Mr. Ritson, who entertained a very salu- 
tary dread of what he terms " guesswork 
in glossaries," but who when called upon 
to exercise this Ikculty himself, seems to 
have thought no guess like a round guess, 
gives us: *'hyght, called, or namedt or 
am, is, or was, so." 

** Langland uses " mayden " for an nn* 
married female, and "maidone" for a ba- 
chelor. Dr. Whitaker has said of these 
terms : Maeg is a maid of either sex ; and 
Maidone is from Dominiw and Maiden 
fr^m Domina : an etymology which would 
have done honour to the genius of Me- 
nage. The Anglo-Saxon maegd (our SMiuf) 
had d diminutive m«egd-en (mayden, 
MoidsnX formed upon the same principle 
that we have chicken firom chik, kitten 
from either cat or kit ; and Langland*s 


Kynde hujrde tho conflcience, and cam out of the planetes 

And Bente forth his [f(NreynourB*7] feven and fluxes 

Couhs and cardiacles [craInpe8*^] and toth-aches 

Reumes and Radegoundes, and roynouse scabbes 

Bules and botches, and brennjng aguwes 

Frenesyes and foule uveles, these foragers of Kynde 

Hadden prykede and preyede^S polles of [the] people 

Largeliche a legion, lees the lyf sone 

Ther was harow and help^ her eometh Kynde 

With deth that is dredful, to undo ous alle 

The lord that lyvede after louste, tho aloud criede 

After Comfort a knyght, to come and bere hus baner 

Alarme, alarme, quath that lorde, eche lyf kepe [his 7^] owene 

Thenne mette thes men, er mynstrales myghte pipe 

And er heraudes of armes, hadden descruyede lordes 

Elde the hore, was in the [avauntwarde^i] 

And bar a baner byfore deth, by right he hit claymede 

Kynde cam after hym, with menye kynne sores 

As pockes and pestilences, and muche people shente 

So Kynde thorgh coruptions, culde ful menye 

Deth cam [dryvyng?^] after, and al to dust paihste 

K3mges and knyghtes, cayaers and popes 

Lered ne lewide, he lefte no man stand 

That he hitte evene, sterede nevere after 

Many a lofly lady, and here lemmanes knyghtes 

Sounede and swelte, for sorwe of dythes dyntes 

Conscience of hus cortesie, tho Kynde he by souhte 

To cessen and to suflfren, and seo wher thei wolde 

Leve pruyde pry vdiche, and beo perfit cristene 

And Kynde cessede tho, to seon the peuple amende. 

(W7«teifccr, p.896-7.) 

And gaderide a great ost, al ageyn Conscience 
Thees lecherie leyden on, with lauhynge chire 
And with pryvey speche, and peyntede wordes 
And armede hym with ydelnesse, and in hy beryng 
He bar a bowe in hus honde, and manye brode urwes 
Where fetherede with faire by heste, and many a fals treuthe. 

(lb. p. 898.) 

ratton from rat. The Germans have their *» The Cotton MS. reads "ipeyncde,** 

Magd and Madchen, which in the Nibe- which, as the most intelligible, 1 should 

Inngen Lied is written Magedin. In some prefer. The Harleian, " parveyde." I do 

provinces these terms are nearly synony- not perceive the force of the present text, 

moas ; in others Magd is a word of rather '^ ous. W. 

indifferent odour, and corresponds to our 7i yauntwarde. W. The text is an- 

English wench. thorized by both the Museum MSS.aBd is 

^ fereour8.W. supported by the alUteration. 

•• clamupes. W. W dremend. W, 



Pierce the Phwmd/Cs Crede. CangtituHan and Character cf the four 
orders €f Mendicant Friars. Wickliffe. 

To the Vision of Pierce Plowman has been commonly annexed a 
poem called Pierce the Plowman's Crbde, and which may properly 
be considered as its appendage ^ It is professedly written in imitation 
of our Vision, but by a different hand. The author, in the character 
of a plain uninformed person, pretends to be ignorant of his creed ; to 
be instructed in the aiticles of which, he applies by turns to the four 
orders of Mendicant friars. This circumstance affords an obvious oc« 
casion of exposing in lively colours the tricks of those societies. After 
so unexpected a disappointment, he meets one Pierce, or Peter, a plow- 
man, who resolves his doubts, and teaches him the principles of true 
religion. In a Copy of the Crede lately presented to me by the bishop 
of Gloucester, and once belonging to Mr. Pope, the latter in his own 
hand has inserted the following abstract of its plan. " An ignorant 
plain man having learned his Pater-noster and Ave-mary, wants to 
learn his creed. He asks several religious men of the several orders 
to teach it him. First of a friar Minor, who bids him beware of the 
Carmelites, and assures him they can teach him nothing, describing 
their faults, &c. But that the friars Minors shall save him, whether he 
learns his creed or not He goes next to the friars Preachers, whose 
magnificent monastery he describes : there he meets a fat friar, who 
declaims against the Augustines. He is shocked at his pride, and goes 
to the Augustines. They rail at the Minorites. He goes to the Cannes ; 
they abuse the Dominicans, but promise him salvation, without the 
creed, for money. He leaves them with indignation, and finds an ho- 
nest poor Plowman in the field, and tells him how he was disappoint- 
ed by the four orders. The plowman answers with a long invective 
against them." 

The language of the Crede is less embarrassed and obscure than 
that of the Vision. But before I proceed to a specimen, it may not 
be periiaps improper to prepare the reader, by giving an outline of the 
constitution and character of the four orders of Mendicant friars, the 
object of our poet's satire: an inquiry in many respects connected 

* The first edition is by R. Wolfe, C. ii. edit. 1561. Walter Britte or Blithe, 

London, 1553. 4to. In four sheets. It a follower of WicklifFe, is also mentioned, 

WBS reprinted, and added to Rogers's, or Signat C. lii. Britte is placed by Bale in 

the fourth edition of the FIMmi, 1561. It 1390. Cent. vt. 94. See also Fuller's 

waseridenUy written after the year 1384. Worthies, p. 8. Wales. The reader will 

Wtckliffis died in that year, and he is pardon this small anticipation for the 

mentioned as no longer living in Signtt. sake of connection. 


with the general purport of this History, and which, in this place at 
least, cannot be deemed a digression, as it will illustrate the main subject, 
and explain many particular passages, of the Plowman's Credb^ 

Long before ihe thirteenth century, the monastic orders, as we have 
partly seen in the preceding poem, in consequence of their ample reve- 
nues, had degenerated from their primitive austerity, and were totally 
given /up to luxury and indolence. Hence they became both unwilling 
and unable to execute the purposes of their establishment: to instruct 
the people, to check the growth of heresies, or to promote in any r^ 
spect the true interests of the church. They forsook all their religious 
obligations, despised the authority of their superiors, and were aban* 
doned without shame or remorse to every species of dissipation and 
licentiousness. About the beginning therefore of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, the condition and circumstances of the church rendered it abso* 
lutely necessary to remedy these evils, by introducing a new order of 
religious, who being destitute of fixed possessions, by the severity of 
their manners, a professed contempt of riches, and an unwearied per- 
severance in the duties of preaching and prayer, might restore respect 
to the monastic institution, and recover the honours of the church. 
These were the four orders of mendicant or begging friars, commonly 
denominated the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites, and the 

These societies soon surpassed all the rest, not only in the purity of 
their lives, but in the number of their privileges, and the multitude of 
their members. Not to mention the success which attends all novelties, 
their reputation arose quickly to an amazing height The popes, among 
other uncommon immunities, allowed them the liberty of travelling 
wherever they pleased, of conversing with persons of all ranks, of in- 
structing the youth and the people in general, and of hearing confes- 
sions, without reserve or restriction : and as on these occasions, which 
gave them opportunities of appearing in public and conspicuous situ- 
ations, they exhibited more striking marks of gravity and sanctity than 
were observable in the deportment and conduct of the members of other 
monasteries, they were regarded with the highest esteem and venera- 
tion throughout all the countries of Europe. 

In the mean time they gained still greater respect, by cultivating the 

Mterature then in vogue widi the greatest assiduity and success. Gianoni 

says, that most of the theological professors m the university of Naples, 

\ newly founded in the year 1220, were chosen from the Mendicants^ 

They were the principal teachers of theology at Pans, the school where 

^ And of some perhaps quoted abo^e 'minicanft In "England was at Oxford in 

from the Vision. 1221. Of the Franciscans, at Canierbury. 

* The Franciscans were often styled These two were the most eminent of the 

firiars-minors, or minorites, and grey- four orders. The Dominican friary at 

friars ; the Dominicans, friars-preachers, Oxfbrd stood in an island on the south of 

and sometimes black-friars ; the Carmel- the city, south-west of the Franciscan fri- 

ttes, white-friars ; and the Austins, grey- ary, the site of which is hereafter described, 

friars. The first establishment of the Do- « Hist. Nap. xvl 3. 



this science had received its origin'. At Oxford and Cambridge re- 
spectively, all the four orders had flourishing monasteries. The most 
learned scholars in the university of Oxford, at the close of the thir- 
teenth century, were Ftaneiscan friars : and long after this period, the 
Franciscans appear to have been the sole support and ornament of that 
university'. Hence it was that bishop Hugh de Balsham, founder of 
Peter-house at Cambridge, orders in his statutes given about the year 
1280, that some of his scholars should annually repair to Oxford for 
improvement in the sciences^. That is, to study under the Franciscan 
readers. Such was the eminence of the Franciscan friary at Oxford, 
that the learned bishop Grosthead, in the year 125S, bequeathed all his 
books to that celebrated seminary '. This was the house in which the 
renowned Roger Bacon was educated ; who revived, in the midst of 
barbarism, and brought to a considerable degree of perfection, the 
knowledge of mathematics in England, and greatly facilitated many 
modem discoveries in experimental philosophy^. The same fratemi^ 
is likewise said to have stored their valuable library with a multitude of 
Hebrew manuscripts, which they purchased of the Jews on their ba^ 
nishment from England^ Richard de Bury, bishop of Durham, author \ 
of Philobiblon, and the founder of a library at Oxford, is prolix in 
his praises of the Mendicants for their extraordinary diligence in col- 
lecting books °'. Indeed it became difficult in the beginning of the four* 

' See BouL HisL Academ. Paris, ill. 
p. 13S. 240. 844. 848, &c. 

' This circumstance in some degree 
roused the monks from their indolence, 
and induced the greater monasteries to 
procure the foundation of small colleges in 
the universities for the education of their 
novices. At Oxford the monks had also 
schools which bore the name of their re- 
spective orders ; and there were schools in 
that university which were appropriated 
to particular monasteries. Kennet's Pa- ' 
roch. Ant. p. 214. Wood, Hist Ant. Univ. 
Oxon. L 119. Leland says, that even in 
his time, at Stamford, a temporary uni- 
versity, the names of halls inhabited by 
the novices of Peterborough, Sempring- 
ham, and Vauldrey abbies, were remain- 
ing. Itin. vi. p. 21. And it appears, that 
the greater part of the proceeders in the- 
ology at Oxford and Cambridge, just before 
the Reformation, were monks. But we do 
not find, that in consequence of all these 
efforts, the monks made a much greater 
figure in literature. — In this rivalry which 
subsisted between the Mendicants and the 
monks, the latter sometimes availed them- 
selves of their riches ; and with a view to 
attract popularity, and to eclipse the grow- 
ing lustre of the former, proceeded to their 
degrees in -the universities with prodigious 
panbde. In the year 1298, William de 

Brooke, a Benedictine of Saint Peter's 
abbey at Gloucester, took the degree of 
doctor in divinity at Oxford. He was at- 
tended on this important occasion by the 
abbot and whole convent of Gloucester, 
the abboto of Westminster, Reading, 
Abingdon, Evesham, and Malmesbury, 
with one hundred noblemen and esquires, 
on horses richly caparisoned. These were 
entertained at a sumptuous feast in the re- 
fectory of Gloucester college. But it should 
be observed, that he was the first of the 
Benedictine order that attained this digw 
nity. Wood, Hist. Ant Univ. Oxon. i. 25. 
col. 1. See also Stevens, Mon. 1. 70. 

A « De scholaribus emittendis ad uni- 
versitatem Oxonie pro doctrina." Cap. 

> Leland. Script Brit p. 283. This 
house stood just without the city walls, 
near Little-gate. The garden called Pa- 
radise was their grove or orchard. 

k It is probable, that the treatises of 
many of Bacon's scholars and followers, 
collected by Thomas Allen in the reign of 
James the First, still remain among the 
manuscripts of Sir Kenelm Digby in the 
Bodleian library. 

1 Wood, ubi supr. 1. 77. col. 2. 

" Philobibl. cap. v. This book was 
written 1344. 


teenth century to find any treatise in the arts, theology, or canon lav, 
commonly exposed to sale : they were all universally bought up by the 
/ friars °. This is mentioned by Richard Fitzralph, archbishop of Ar- 
magh, in his discourse before the pope at Avignon in 1857, their bitter 
and professed antagonist ; who adds, without any intention of paying 
them a compliment, that all the Mendicant convents were furnished with 
a ^'grandb et nobilis libraria^.'* Sir Richard Whittington built the 
library of the Grey Friars in London, which was one hundred and 
twenty-nine feet long, and twelve broad, with twenty-eight desks'. 
About the year 14S0, one hundred marks were paid for transcribing 
the profound Nicholas de Lyra, in two volumes, to be chained in this 
library 4. Leland relates, that Thomas Wallden, a learned Carmelite, 
bequeathed to the same- library as many manuscripts of approved au- 
thors, written in capital Roman characters, as were then estimated at 
more than two thousand pieces of gold^ He adds, that this library, 
even in his time, exceeded all others in London for multitude of books 
and antiquity of copies". Among many other instances which might 
be given of the learning of the Mendicants, there is one which greatly 
contributed to establish their literary character. In the eleventh cen- 
tury, Aristotle*s philosophy had been condemned in the university of 
Paris as heretical. About a hundred years afterwards, these prejudices 
began to subside; and new translations of Aristotle's writings were 
published in Latin by our countryman Michael Scotus, and others, with 
more attention to the original Greek, at least without the pompous and 
perplexed circumlocutions which appeared in the Arabic versions hi- 
therto used. In the mean time the Mendicant orders sprung up ; who 
hs^pily availing themselves of these new translations, and making them 
the constant subject of their scholastic lectures, were the first who re- 
vived the doctrines of this philosopher, and acquired the merit of having 
opened a new system of science ^ The Dominicans of Spain were ac- 
complished adepts in the learning and language of the Arabians ; and 

" Yet I find a decree made at Oxford, FitsrauTs Sermons, in the first leaf of 

where these orders of friars flourished so which there is a drawing of four devils, 

greatly, in the year 1373, to check the hugging four mendicant friars, one of each 

(fxcessivemuHiiiide of TpenonsBeWlnghooks of the four orders, with great familiarity 

in the university without licence. Vet. and affection. MSS. L. 16. This book 

Stat Univ. Ozon. D. fol. 75. Archiv. Bodl. belonged to Adam Eston, a very learned 

^ MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Propositio coram Benedictine of Norwich, and a witness 

papa, &c. And MSS. C. C. C. Oxon. 1 82. against WickUffe at Rome, where he lived 

Propositio coram, &c. See a translation the greatest part of his life, in 1370. 

of this Sermon by Trevisa, MSS. Harl. ' Stowe's Surv. Lond. p. 255. edit. 

1900. fol. Pergam.2. See C 11. See also 1599. 

Browne's append. Fascic. Rer. expctend. '^ Stowe, ibid. p. 256. Stevens, Monast 

fugiend. ii. p. 466. 1 believe this dis- i. 112. 

course has been printed twice or thrice at ' Aurei. 

Paris. In which, says the archbishop, * Script. Brit. p. 441. And Collectan. 

there were thirty thousand scholars at Ox- lii. p. 52. 

ford in my youth, bur now (1357) scarce ^ See Joann. Laun. de varia Ariatotel. 

six thousand. At Bennet in Cambridge, Fortun. in Acad. Paris, p. 78. edit. Parii. 

there is a curious manuscript of one of 1662. 



were employed by the kings of Spain in the instraction and cohvenion 
of the nnmerouB Jews and Saracens who resided in their dominions^. 

The buildings of the Mendicant monasteries, especially in England, 
were remarkably magnificent, and commonly much exceeded those of 
the endowed convents of the second magnitude. As these fraternities 
were professedly poor, and could not from their original institution re- I 
oeive estates, tiie munificence of their benefactors was employed in 
adorning their houses with stately refectories and churches : and for 
these and other purposes they did not want address to procure multi- 
tudes of patrons, which was facilitated by the notion of their superior 
sanctity. It was fashionable for persons of the highest rank to bequeath 
their bodies to be buried in the friary churches, which were consequently I 
filled with sumptuous shrines and superb monuments \ In the noble 
church of the Grey friars in London, finished in the year 1 S25, but long / 
since destroyed, four queens, besides upwards of six hundred persons 
of quality, were buried, whose beautiful tombs remained till the Disso- 
lution'. These interments imported considerable sums of money into 
the Mendicant societies. It is probable that they deriyed more benefit 
from casual charity than they would have gained from a regular en- 
dowment. The Franciscans indeed enjoyed from the popes the privi- * 
lege of distributing indulgences, a valuable indemnification for their 
voluntary poverty y. 

On the whole, two of these Mendicant institutions, the Dominicans 
and the Franciscans, for the space of near three centuries, appear to 
have governed the European church and state with an absolute and 
univenal sway : they filled, during that period, the most eminent ecde- 

* R. Simon's Lett. Chois. loin. iii. p. 1 12. bom ; and hig wise-men, having consulted 
They studied the arts of popular entertain- their boolcs, answer him at Bethlehem. 
menL The Mendicants, I believe, were On which, the three kings with their gold- 
die only religious in England who acted en crowns, having in their hands golden 
playi. The Creation of the World, an- cups filled with, frankincense, myrrh, and 
nually performed by the Grey friars at gold, the star still going before, marched 
Coventry, is still extant See supr. vol. i. to the church of St Eustorgius, with all 
p. 83. and voL iL p. 25. And they seem their attendants; preceded by trumpets and 
to have been famous abroad for these ex- horns, apes, baboons, and a great variety 
hibitions. Gualvanei de la Flamma, who of animals. In the church, on one side of 
flourished about the year 1340, has the the high altar, there was a manger with 
following curious passage in his chronicle an ox and an ass, and in it the infant Christ 
of the YiCECOMiTES of Milan, published in the arms of his mother. Here the three 
by Muratori. In the year 1836, says he, kings offer their gifts, &c. The concourse 
on the feast of Epiphany, the first feast of of the people, of knighu, ladies, and ec- 
the three kings was celebrated at Milan, clesiastics, was such as never before was 
by the convent of the friars Preachers. beheld, &c. Rer. Italic. Scrlptor. tom. xii. 
The three kings appeared crowned on col. 1017. D. fol. Mediolan. 1728. Corn- 
three great horses, richly 'habited, sur- pare p. 31. supr. This feast in the ritual 
rounded by pages, body-guards, and an is called Tfie feast of the Star, Joann. 
innumerable retinue. A golden sUr was Episcop. Abrinc de Offic Eccl. p. 80. 
exhibited in the sky, going before them. * Their churches were esteemed more 
They proceeded to the pillars of St Law- sacred than others. 
Tence, where king Herod was represented * Wcav. Fun. Mon. p. 888. 
with his scribes and wise-men. The three ^ Sec Baluz. Miscellan. tom. iv. 490. 
kings ask Herod where Chrbt should be vii. 392. 


stastical and ciyil stations, taught in the universities with an authoriiy 
which silenced all opposition, and maintained the disputed prerogative 
of the Roman pontiff against the united influence of prelates and kings, 
with a vigour only to be paralleled by its success. The Dominicans 
. and Franciscans were, before the Reformation, ezactiy what the Jesuits 
have been since. They disregarded their monastic character and pro- 
fession, and were employed, not only in spiritual matters, but in tem- 
poral aflairs of the greatest consequence; in composing the differences 
of princes, concluding treaties of peace, and conceiting alliances : they 
presided in cabinet councils, levied national subsidies, influenced courtSy 
and managed the machines of every important operation and event, both 
in the religious and political world. 

From what has been here said, it is natural to suppose that the Men- 
dicants at length became universally odious. The high esteem in which 
they were held, and the transcendent degree of authority which they 
had assumed, only served to render them obnoxious to the clergy of 
every rank, to the monasteries of other orders, and to the universities. 
It was not from ignorance, but from a knowledge of mankind, that they 
were active in propagating superstitious notions, which they knew were 
calculated to captivate the multitude, and to strengthen tiie papal in- 
terest ; yet at the same time, from the vanity of displaying an uncom- 
mon sagacity of thought, and a superior skill in theology, they affected 
novelties in doctrine, which introduced dangerous errors, and tended 
to shake the pillars of orthodoxy. Their ambition was unbounded, and 
their arrogance intolerable. Their increasing numbers became, in many 
states, an enormous and unwieldy burthen to the commonwealth. They 
had abused the powers and privileges which had been entrusted to 
them ; and the common sense of mankind could not long be blinded or 
deluded by the palpable frauds and artifices which these rapacious zeal- 
ots so notoriously practised for enriching their convents. In England, 
the university of Oxford resolutely resisted the perpetual encroachments 
of the Dominicans' ; and many of our theologists attacked all the four 
orders with great vehemence and severity. Exclusive of the jealousies 
and animosities which naturally subsisted between four rival institu- 
tions, their visionary refinements, and love of disputation, introduced 
among them the most violent dissensions. The Dominicans aimed at 
popularity by an obstinate denial of the immaculate conception. Their 
7>retended sanctity became at length a term of reproach, and their 
learning fell into discredit. As polite letters and general knowledge 
increased, their speculative and pedantic divinity gave way to a more 
liberal turn of thinking, and a more perspicuous mode of writing. Bale, 
who was himself a Carmelite friar, says, that his order, which was emi- 
nentiy distinguished for scholastic erudition, began to lose their esti- 
mation about the year 1460. Some of them were imprudent enough 

* Wood, ut 8upr. I lAO. Hi, 196. 


to engage openly in political controyeray ; and the Augustines dertroyed 
all their repute and authority in England by seditious sermons, in which 
they laboured to supplant the progeny of Edward the Fourth^ and to 
establish the title of the usurper Richard ^ About the year 1530, Le- 
land yisited the Franciscan friary at Oxford, big with the hopes of find- 
ing, in their celebrated library, if not tnany valuable books, at least 
those which had been bequeathed by the learned bishop Grosthead. 
The delays and difficulties with which he procured admittance into this 
venerable repository heightened his curiosity and expectations. At 
length, after much ceremony, being permitted to enter, instead of an 
inestimable treasure, he saw little more than empty shelves covered 
with cobwebs and dust^. - 

After so prolix an introduction, I cannot but give a large quotation 
from our Crede, the humour and tendency of which will now be easily 
understood ; and especially as this poem is not only extremely scarce, 
and has almost the rarity of a manuscript ; but as it is so curious and 
lively a picture of an order of men who once made so conspicuous a 
figure in the world** 

For first I frayned^ the freres, and they me full tolden, 
That al the fruyt of the fayth, was in her foure orders. 
And the cofres of Christendom, and the keie bothen 
And the lock of byleve', lyeth locken in her hondes. 

Then wennede* I to Wytte, and with a whight I mette 
A Minoure in amorwetide, and to this man I saide, 
Sir for greate godes love, the graith' thou me tell. 
Of what myddel erde man myght I best lerne 
My crede, for I can it nought my care is the more. 
And therfore for Christes love, thy counseyl I preie, 
A Carme' me hath ycovenant, [the crede >] me to teche. 
But for thou knowest Cannes wel, thy counsaile I aske* 

This Minour loked on me, and laughyng he sayde 

* Newoourt, Repert !. 289. quos tribus obolis non emerem.*' Script 

^ Leiand defcribes this adventure with Brit p. 286. 

lome humour. " Contigit ut copiam pe- * [The British Mnseum contain! but 

terem Tidendi bibliothecam Frandscano- one manuscript (King's MSS. 18. B. xvi.) 

ad quod obstreperunt asini aliquot, of the Crede, and that of no early date. It 
mdentet nnlli prorsus mortalium tam agrees closely in orthography and matter 

I aditus et recessus adire, nisi Oar- with the printed copy, and is perhaps not 

diano et sacris sul coUegii baccalariis. Sed much older. A few of its variations have 

^go nigebam, et principis diplomate mu- been inserted in the text, and others of 

nitut, untum non coegi ut sacraria ilia less importance given in the notes below, 

aperirent Tum unus e migoribus asinis The rejected readings of the black-letter 

uralta subrudens tandem fores Kgre rese- copy are distinguished by the letter P.— 

nvit Somme Jupiter, quid ego illic in- A reprint of Rogers's edition of4553, ap- 

Ten! t Pulverem autem inveni, telas ara- peared in 1814. — Price.] 
neamm, tineas, blattas, situm denique et * asked. * belief. * thought 

•qoalorem. Inveni etiam et libros, sed ' truth.* ■ Cannelite, 

^ ye nede. P. 


Leve Christen man, I leve^ that thou tnadde. 

Whough^ shuld thei teche the god', that con non hemselve? 

They ben but juguiere, and japero of ky nde, 

Lorels and lechures, and lemans holden, 

Neyther in order ne out but unneth lybbeth^ 

And byjapeth the folk with gestes^ of Rome. 

It is but a faynt folke, y founded up on japes. 

They maketh hem Maries men^ and so thei men tellen. 

And leieth on our lady many a long tale. 

And that wicked folk wymmen betraieth, 

And begileth hem of her good with glavering wordes. 

And ther with holden her™ hous in harlotes warkes. 

And so save me God I hold it great synne. 

To gyven hem any good, swiche glotones to fynde 

To maintaine swiche maner men the michel good destruieth 

Yet seyn° they in her sutiltie, to sottes in townes 

Thei comen out of Carmeii, Christ for to folwen. 

And feyneth hem with holynesse, the yvele hem bisemeth. 

Thei lyven more in lecherie, and lieth in her tales, 

Than Isuen^ any good liif, but lurken in her selles^ 

But wynnen werdliche? good, and wasten it in synne. 

And gif 4 thei couthen"* her crede other on Christ leveden 

Thei weren nought so hardy, swyche harlotri usen, 

Sikerli I can nought fynden who hem first founded. 

But the foles foundeden hem self freres of the pye, 

And maken hem mendyans, and marre the [people^] 

But what glut of the gomes may any good kachen. 

He wil kepen it hem selfe, and cofrene^ it faste. 

And thoigh his felawes fayle good, for [him?] he mai sterve 

Her monei mai bi quest, and testament maken 

And none obedience here, but don as hym luste. 

And right as Robartes men raken aboute 

At feyres and at full ales, and fyllen the cuppe* 

And precheth al of pardon, to plesen the puple, 

^ believe. the Carmelite scapulary upon their shoul- 

I deceiveth [liveth]. ders should in&llibly escape damnatioii. 

^ legends. » their. ■ say. * follow. 

' The Carmelites, sometimes called the ' worldly. ^ if. ' knew, 

brethren of the Blessed Virgin, were fond * [Robartes men, or Roberdsmen, were 

of boasting their familiar intercourse with a set of lawless vagabonds, notorious for 

the Virgin Mary. Among other things, their outrages when Pierce Plowman wms 

they pretended that the Virgin assumed written, that is, about the year 13S0 

theCarmeUte habit and profession; and [1362]. The statute of Edward the Third 

that she appeared to Simon Sturckius, ge- (an. reg. 5. c xiv.) specifies "** divers man* 

neral of their order, in the thirteenth cen- slaughters, felonies, and robberies, done by 

tury, and gave him a solemn promise, that people that be ealled B9b€rd€men^ Waa- 

tfae souls of those christians who died with tours, and drawlatchet." And the statatt 

«how. 'God.?. <shfwin. •pvle.P. • coferen. ^he. P. 


But patience is al [passyd]^ and put out to fenne 

And pride is in her povertie, that liteil is to preisen 

And at the lullyng of our lady S the wymmen to fyken 

And miracles of mydwyves, and maken wynunen to wenen 

That the lace of our lady smok lighteth hem of children. 

Thei ne prechen nought of Powell ne penaunce for synne» 

But al of merci and ^mensk^, that Marie may helpen. 

With Sterne staves and stronge, thei overlond straketh, 

Thider as here lemans lig^eth, and lurketh in townes. 

Grey grete heded queues, with gold by the eighen. 

And seyne that her sustern thei ben that sojournfeth aboute. 

And thus abouten the gon and godes ^^ folke betrayeth, 

It is the puple that Powel preched of in his tyme. 

He seyde of swiche folke that so aboute wente 

Wepyngy I warne you of walkers aboute. 

It beth enemyes of the cros that Christ upon tholede. 

Swiche slomreers' in slepe slaughter is her end. 

And glotonye is her god, with glopping of drink * 

And gladnesse in glees, and grete joye ymaked 

In the shending* of swiche shal mychel folk lauwghe. 

Therfore frend for thy feith fond to don beter, 

Leve nought on tho losels, but let hem forth pasen, 

For thei ben fals in her faith, and feele mo. other. 

Alas frere, quath I tho, my purpos is yfailed, 
Now is my comfort a cast, canstou no bote, 
Wher I might meten with a man that might me wyssen 
For to conne my crede^ Christ for to folwen. 

Certeyn felawe, quath the frere, withouten any fayle 
Of al men upon mold* we Minorites most sheweth 
The pure aposteles lif **, with penance on erthe. 
And suen ^ hem in sanctite, and sufferen wel harde* 

of Richard the Second (an. reg. 7. c. ▼.) * The Carmelites pretended that their 

ordains, that the statute of king Edward order was originally founded on Mount 

concerning Boberdimen and Drawlacchet Carmel where Elias lived ; and that their 

shall be rigorously observed. Sir Edward fint convent was placed there, within an 

Coke (Instit. iii. 197.) supposes them to antient church dedicated to the Viigin 

have been originally the followers of Ro- Mary, in the year 1121. 

bin Hood in the reign of Richard the * St Paul. 

First See Blackstone's Comm. B. iv. ch. ^ mercy [humanity]. 

17. Bishop Latimer says, that in a town ' slumberers. 

where he intended to preach, he could not ' sloth. 

collect a congregation, because it was Ro- « [In the Liber Psnitentialis there is 

hmhoodes daye, « I thought my rochet this ii^unction, " Si monachus per 

would have been regarded, though I ebrietatem vM»t<ifmyeeertf,trigintadies 

were not : but it would not servo^ it was pmniteat:* MSS. Jam. V. 237. BibL BodL 

fiune to give place to Rohhthoodet men.'* — Additions.] 

Sermons, foL 74. b. This expression is * destroyhug, 

not without an allusion to the had sense * earth. 

of Roherdswien. — Additions.] ^ follow. 

*pased. P. • mary and melk. i<>gode. iUeif.P. 

96 PIBRCB THE plowman's CREOB. ' [SBCT. IX. 

We hannten not tavernes, ne hobelen^ abouten 
At marketes and miracles we medeley us nev^r^* 
We houlden * no moneye, but [menelich i^] faren ' 
And haven hunger at the mete, at ich a mel ones ''. 
We hayen forsaken the world, and in wo libbeths 
In penaunce and poverte, and prechethe the puple^ 
By ensample of our liif, soules to helpen 
And in poverte preien, for al oure parteneres 
That gjveth us any good, God to honouren 
Other bel other book, or bred to our foode, 
Other catel other doth, to coveren [with^^] oure bones*. 
Money, other money worth, here mede is in hevene 
For we buildeth a burugh ^, a brod and a laige, 
A chirch and a ehapitle*, with chaumbers a lofte* 
With wide wyndowes ywrought, and walles wel heye 
That mote ben portreid, [paynted'^] and pulched ful dene"*. 
With gay glitering glas, glowing as the sunne, 
And mightestou amenden us with money ^ of thyne owen, 
Thou shouldest knely before Christ in compas of gold. 
In the wyde windowe westward wel neigh in the middell**. 
And saint Franceis him self, shal folde the in his cope. 
And present the to the trinite, and praye for thy synnes, 
Thy name shal noblich be wryte and wrought for the nones 
And in remembraunce of the, [irade] "• ther for ever p. 
And brother be thou nought aferd, bythenkin thyne hert 
Though thou cone<i nought thy crede, care thou no more 
I shal asoilen'' the syr, and setten it on my soule* 
And thou may maken this good, thenke thou non other. 
Sir (I sayde) in certaine I shal gon and asaye^ 

« skip, ran [hohbW]. was the way of reprefenting benefacton 

* See rapr. p. 20. in painted glass. See supr. p. 54. 

* collect, hide, possess, hoard. ' Your name shall be written in onr 
'live like monks, like men dedicated to table of benefactors for whose souls we 

religion. Or rather, moneyless, poor. pray. This was usually hung up in the 

> live. church. Or else he means, Written in the 
^ people. windows, in which manner bene&ctort 

> Either bells, or books, or' bread, or were frequently recorded. 

cattle, &c, [Most of the printed copies read prtdd^ 

^ a house. ^ Hearne, in a quotation of this passage, 

> A chapter-house ; Capihthim, reads yrttd, Gul. Newbrig. p. 770. He 

* Must be painted and beautifully ad- quotes an edition of 1553. " Your name 
orned. [MoU is often used in Chaucer shall be richly written in the windows of 
for must — Additions.] the church of the monastery, which men 

* If you would help us with your mo- will R£ad there for ever." This seema 
ney. to be the true reading. — Additions.] 

® Your figure kneeling to Christ shall ^ know, 

be painted in the great west window. This 'absolve. 

" moneliche. P. ^* ilche a mele onys. >^ The context requires the 

suppression of thi^word. In the manuscript it appears to have been written and 
afterwards erased. ^* and paint. P. >* praid. P. 


And he set on me his hond, and asoiled me dene, 
And there I parted him fro, withouten any peyne. 
In covenant that I come agayn, Christ he me be taught* 

Than saide I to myself, here semeth litei treuthe. 
First to blame his brother, and bakbyten hym foule, 
There as curteis Christ clerliche sayde : 
Whow might thou in thy brothers eighe a bare mote loke 
And in thyne owen eighe nought a heme toten. 
See first on thy self, and sithen on a nother, 
And ciense ciene thy sight, and kepe wel thyne eighe, 
And for another mannes eighe, ordeyne after 
And also I. see coveitise, catel to fongen", 
That Christ hath clerliche forboden S and denliche destruede 
And sayde to his sueres ", for sothe on his wyse : 
Nought thy neighbors good coveyte in no tyme. 
But charite and chastite, ben chased out dene, 
But Christ seide by her fruit, men shal hem ful knowen. 
Thanne saide I, certeine syr, thou demest ful trewe. 

Than thought I to frayne^ the first of this foure ordres. 
And presed to the Prechoures^ to proven her wille, 
Ich highed to her housed, to herken of more. 
And when I came to that court, I gaped about, 
Swich a bild bold ybuld upon erthe heighte, 
Say I nought in certeyn sy ththe a long tyme *. 
I ['yemyd >?] upon lliat hous, and yeme^ theron loked, 
Whow the pileres weren ypaint and [^ pulched "•] ful dene. 
And qneyntly ycorven, with curious knottes. 
With wyndowes wd ywrought, wyde up alofle, 
And than I entred in, and even forthe wente. 
And all was walled that wone*^, though it wild were 
With postemes in privite to passen when hem-liste. 
Orcheyardes, and erberes^ [euesed^*] wel dene, 
And a curious croe, craftly entayled*. 
With tabemades ytight to toten* al abouten. 
The pris of a ploughlond, of penies so rounde, 
To apaiaile*that pyler, were pure litd^ 
Than I munte' me forth, the mynstere^ to knowen. 
And awayted^ it [anon**] wonderly wel ybild, 

' take, receive. * forbidden. * houie, htbitatioo. 

* foUowen. ^ to ask. • arbours. 

* I hastened to the friars-preachers. ' canred. See Spenser, it. 8, 27. «, 19. 
^ I went to their monastery. ' to look. 

* It is long since I have eeen so fine a ^ The price of a carucate of land would 
building. not raise such another building. 

* gaaed. * earnestly, [eagerly]. « went. 

* polished. ^ church. ^ I saw. 

W scmed. P. »• polcched. >• usyd. » woon. P. 



PIBBCB THE plowman's CREDB, 

[sect. IX. 

With arches on everich half, and bdlyche"* ycorren 
With crochetes on [cornepes]*!, with knottes of gold. 
Wyde wyndowes ywrought ywriten fill thlkke'^ 
Shynen with shapen sheldes^ to shewen aboute, 
With merkes of merchauntesP, 3rin^eled betwene, 
Mo than twentie and two, twyse ynoumbbred ; 
Ther k non herand that hath half swich a rolled 
Right as a rageman hath rekned hem newe 
Tombes upon tabernacles, tylde upon lofte % 
Housed * in hornes harde set abouten ^ 
Of armede alabaustre, dad for the nones, 


* with texts, or nunet. 

* That b, coats of anna of benefactors 
pidnted in the glass. So in an antient roU 
in verse, exhibiting the descent of the fa- 
mily of the lords of Clare in Suffolk, pre- 
served in the Austin friary at Clare, and 
written in the year 1356. 

Dame Mault, a lady ftill honorable. 
Borne of the Ulsters, as sheweth ryfe 
Hir anus qfgUute in the eastern gable. 
— ^— ^— So Goiyoyned be 
Ulstris armes and Olocestris thur^ and 

As shewith our Wyndowei in houses thre, 
Dortur, chapiter-house, and fraitour, 

which she 
Made out the gronnde both plandier 

and wall. 

Dugdale cites this roll, Hon. AngLi. p.535. 
As does Weaver, who dates it in 1460. 
Fun. Mon. p. 734. But I could prove 
' this &shion to have been of much higher 

' [By Merkes of merehauniet we are 
to understand their symbols, cyphers, or 
badges, drawn or pidnted Iq the windows. 
Of this passage I have received die fol- 
lowing curious expUcation from Mr. Cole, 
rector of Blechley in Bucks, a learned an- 
tiquary in the heraldic art. "Mixed with 
the arms of their fmndert and hentfitetore 
9&md qUo ike marks of tradeemen omd 
merchants, who had no Arms, but used their 
Marks in a Shield like Arms, Instances 
of this sort are very common. In many 
places in Great Saint Mary's church in 
Cambridge such a Shield of Mark oc- 
curs : the same that is to be seen in the 
windows of the great shop opposite the 
Conduit on the Market-hill, and the comer 
house of the Petty Curry. No doubt, in 
the reign of Henry the Seventh, the owner 
of these houses was a bene&ctor to the 
building, or glasing Saint Mary's church. 

I have seen like instances in Bristol ca- 
thedral; and the churches at Lynn are 
foil of them." — ^In an antient system of 
heraldry in the British Museum, I find 
the following illustration, under a shield 
of this sort. ** Theys be none armys, bvt 
a Marks as Marchaunts vse, for every 
mane may take hyme a Marke, but not 
armys, without an herawde or purcy- 
vaunte." MSS. Harl. 2269. 0. fol. 110. 
— Additions.] 

^ such a rolL ' set up on high. 

* [But perhaps weshould read bitrnes, 
interpreted, in the short Glossary to the 
Crede, Caves, that is, in the present ap- 
plication, niches, arches. See Gloss. Bob. 
GIouc p. 660. col. i. Horn, is angle, 
comer. From the Saxon t>y}in, Angulms. 
Chaucer, Prankel. Tale, Urr. p. 110. v. 

Seeking in every halke [nook], and every 
herne, . 

And again, Chan. Tem. Prol. p. 121. v. 

Lurking in hemis and in lanis blind. 

Read the line, thus pointed. 

Housed in hurnes hard set abouten. 

The sense is therefore, "The tombawere 
within lofty-pinnaded tabemaeles, and 
enclosed in a multiplicity of thick-set 
arches." Hard is close or thick. This 
conveys no bad idea of a Gothic sepuldiral 
shrine. — A dditiow s.] 

[Mr. Ellis asks << Why not ham4s, bar- 
ness, i. e. armour?" which would hardly 
be characteristic of the architeetwre of a 
tomb. Warton is doubtlessly right. The 
term occurs in the poem of Beowulf: 

sele hlifede, 1 hall rose, 

heah and horn-get^, j high and arched. 

* Placed very dote or thick about the 

** With crochers the cornerei. 



Maad opon marbel in many manner wyse 

Knyghtea in ther conisante^ clad for the nonea 

Alle it semed seyntes, ysacred opon erthe, 

And lovely ladies ywrought^ leyen by her sydea 

In many gay gamemens, that weren gold beten. 

Though the tax of ten yere were trewely gadered, 

Nolde it nought maken that hou8» half aa I trowe* 

Than cam I to that doyatre, and gaped abouten» 

Whough it waa pilered and peynt, and portreyd well dene 

Alhyled^ with leed, lowe to the atonesi 

And ypaved, with [^poynttyl%3 ich point after other 

With cunditea of dene tyn doeed al aboute^, 

With lavourea of latdn% loveliche ygreithed * 

I trowe the gaynage of the ground> in a gret shyre 

Nold i^MuraUe that place» oo poynt tyl other ende^ 

Thane was the chapitre house wrought aa a greet chirch 

Conren and coveredy ant quentdyche entayled* 

With semliche sdure jrseet on lofte' 

Aa a parlement houa ypeynted aboute ^ 

" In their proper habilinMnti. In their 
c0!g«iMi»ceff,orfurooatsofansi, Soigtin, 

For dumgh a man in her minstre amane 

wolde heren, 
Hit sight tbaU also byset on sondrye 

The pennonsy and the poinells, and 

pointes ofsheldcs 
Witlidrawen lus devotion and dnsken bis 

That is, the banners, achievements, and 
other armorial ornaments, hanging over 
the tombs. 

^ covered. 

* Poha en point is a French phrase for 
in order, exactly. This explains the latter 
part of the line. Or poyntiU may mean 
tiles in squares or dies, in chequer-work. 
See Skinner in Point, and Du Fresne in 
PuNCTuaA. And then ieh Point efier 
oCfter wiU be mte SQUAas qfter another. 
So late as the reign of Henry the Eighth, 
so magnifloent a structure as the refectory 
of Christ^chureh at Oxford was, at iu first 
building, paved with green and yellow 
tiles. The whole number was two thousand 
six hundred, and each hundred cost three 
ahflBngs and six-pence. MSS. Br. Twyne, 
Archiv. Oxon. 8. p. 358. Wolsey's great 
ball at Hampton Court, evidently built in 
every respect on the model of this at 
Chrisi-churchf was very probably paved 

in the same manner. See Obecrvat. oa 
Spens. vol. ii. | p. 232. [pantiles, Ellis.] 

y Spouts. Or channels for conveying 
the water into the lavatory, which was 
usually placed in the cloister. 

* laten, a metal so called. 

* prepared, adorned. 

^ from one end to the other. 

' The chapter-house was magnificently 
constructed in the style of church-archi* 
tecture, finely vaulted, and richly carved. 

* A seemly ceiling* or roo^ very lofty. 

* That they painted the walls of roomS| 
before tapestry became fashionable, I have 
before given instances, Observat. on Spens. 
vol. ii. I p. 232. I wiU here add other 
proofi. In an old French romance on the 
Miracles of.the Virgin, liv. i. Carpent. 
Suppl. Lat GL Du Caog. V. LaKbroxs* 


Lots monsders tiennent ors et sals, 
Et lor cambres, et lor grans sales, 
Font lambroissier,paliiiir«, et pomrtrairt* 

Gervasius Dorobemensis, In his account 
of the burning of Canterbury Cathedral 
in the year 1 174, says, that not only the 
beam- work was destroyed, but the ceiling 
underneath it, or concameration called 
ccelum, being of wood beautiftilly painted, 
Was also consumed. '* Ccdum inferius 
tgregie depktum," &c p. 1280. Dec. Script. 
Lond. 1652. And Stubbes, Aetut Pontff, 
Bboraceneifim, says, that archbishop Al> 

<* peinetyle. 


PIBBCB THB plowman's CRBDB. 


Thanne ferd I into fraytoure^ and fond there a notber, 
An halle for an hygh kynge, an houshold to hoiden, 
With brod hordes abouten, ybenched wel dene. 
With wyndowes of glass, wrought as a chirche'. 
Than walkede I ferrer'', and went al abouten 
And seigh * halles fill heygh, and houses ful noble» 
Chambres with chymneys, and chapels gaye» 
And kychenes for an high kynge, in castels to holden^ 
And her dortoure^ ydight, with dores ful stronge 
Fermerye and fraitur*, with fele mo houses"' 
And al strong ston wal steme opon heithe 
With gaye garites, and grete, and iche hole glased. 
And other houses ynowe, to hereberwe the queene". 
And yet these bilderes wiln b^;gen a bagge ful of whete 
Of a pure pore man, that may onethe** paye 
Half his rent in a yere, and half ben byhynde. 
Than turned I ayen whan I hadde al ytotedP 
And fond in a freitoure a frere on a benche, 
A greet chorl and a grym, growen as a tonne, 
With a face so fat, as a ful bleddere^ 
Blowen bretful of breth, and as a bagge honged. 

dred, about 1060, built the whole church 
cf York from the Presbytery to the Tower, 
and "superius opere pietorio quod Ccelum 
vocant auro multi/ormiter intermixto, mi- 
rabili arte construxit" p. 1704. Dec. 
Script. «t 8upr. There are many initances 
lo the pipe-rolls, not yet printed. The 
roof of the church of Cassino in Italy is 
ordered to be painted in 1349, like that of 
St. John Lateran at Rome. Hiit. Caasin. 
torn. ii. p. 545. coL 1. Dugdale has printed 
an antient French record, by which it ap- 
pears that there was a hall in the castle of 
Dover called Arthur** hail, and a chamber 
called Oeneura^s chamber. Monast. ii. 2. 
I suppose, because the walls of these 
apartments were respectively adorned with 
paintings of each. Oeneura is Arthur's 
queen. In the pipe-rolls of Henry the 
. Third we have thb notice, A. D. 1850. 
** Infra porUm castri et birbecanam, etc 
ab exitu CAMSRiB RosAiiUNDiE usque 
capellaro sancti Thonm in Castro Wyn- 
ton." Rot. Pip. Hen. III. an. 43.— This 
I once suppMed to be a chamber in Win- 
chester castle, BO called because it was paint- 
ed with the fig\ir« or some history of foir 
Rosamond. Buta Rosamumd-chamber 
was a common apartment in ^he royal 
castles, perhaps in imitation of her bower 
at Woodstock, literally nothing more than 
a e*afii6#r, which yet was curiously con- 
tructed and decorated, al lea.^t '.n nicinory 

of it. The old prose paraphrast of the 
Chronicle of Robert .of Gloucester says, 
*' BouREB hadde the Rosamonde a bout 
in Engelonde, which this kjmge [Hen. 
II.] for fair sake made: atte Waltham bi» 
shope's, in the castelle of Wynchester, atte 
park of Frenantel, atte Marteleston, atte 
Woodestoke, and other fele[many]places." 
Chron. edit Heame, 479. ThU passage 
indeed seems to imply, that Henry the 
Second himself provided for his fiiir con- 
cubine a BOWER, or chamber of peculiar 
construction, not only at Woodstock, but 
in all the royal palaces : which, as may be 
concluded from the pipe-roll just cited, 
was called by her name. Leland says, 
that in the stately castle 'of Pickering in 
Yorkshire, " in the first court be a firare 
Toures, of the which one is cauUid Romo- 
mundu Toure." Itin. foL 71. Probably 
because it contained one of these bowers 
or chambers. Or. perhaps we should read 
RosAMUNDES BouRE. Compare Wal* 
pole's Anecd. Paint L p. 10. 11. 


' a series of stately Gothic windows. 

^ Airther. > saw. 

^ dormitory. > infirmary, &c. 

• many other apartments. 
' to lodge the queen. 

• scarcely. 

• observed. 
' bladder. 


On bothen his chekes, and his chyn, with a chol lollede 
So greet [as] a gos ey, growen [al^] of grece. 
That al wagged his fleish, as a quick mire", 
His cope that biclypped^ him, wei dene was it folden 
Of double worstede ydyght, doun to the hele. 
His kyrtel of dene whiit, denlyche ysewed 
Hit was good ynow of ground, greyn for to baren, 
I haylsede that [hirdman^^] and hendliche I sayde, 
Godo. sire for godes love, canstou me graith tellen, 
To any worthely wiight, that wissen me couthe, 
[How^^] I shuld conne my crede, Christ for to folwe. 
That [levid««] lelliche" hym sdfe, and lyved ther after, 
That feynede no faishede, but fully Christ suwede. 
For [suche*7] a certeyn man syker wold I trosten 
That he wold tell me the trewth, and turn to none other. 
And an Austyn this ender day, egged ^ me faste 
That he wold techen me wel, he plyght me his treuthe 
And seyde me certeyn [sythyn^] Christ deyed 
Oure ordre was [evels^], and erst yfounde. 
First felawe quoth he, fy on his [pilche^] 
He is but abortiif, eked urith cloutes. 
He holdeth his ordinaunce with hores and theves. 
And purchaseth hem privileges, with penyes so rounde. 
It is a pure pardoners craft, prove and asay 
For have they thy money, a moneth therafter 
Certes theigh thou come agen, he wil ye nought knowen. 
But felawe oure foundement was first of the other 
And we ben founded fulliche, withouten fayntise 
And we ben derkes renowen, cunning in schole 
Proued in procession by processe of lawe. 
Of oure order ther beth bichopes wel manye, 
Seyntes on sundry stedes, that suffreden harde 
And we ben proved the priis of popes at Rome 
And of grettest degre, as gospselles telleth. 

I must not quit our Ploughman without observing, that some other 
satirical pieces anterior to the Reformation, bear the adopted name of 
Piers the Plowman. Under the character of a plowman the reli- 
gious are likewise lashed, in a poem written in apparent imitation of 
Longland's Visiok, and attributed to Chaucer. I mean the Plowman's 
Tale\ The measure- is different, and it is in rhyme. But it has 

* quagmire. * coTered. * Perhaps folsely. Unless Chaucer wrote 

" truly. * moved. the Crede, which I cannot believe. For 

•* ftUL ■• thirdman. P. "• Whom. P. *• lenede. P. 

^ dth. F. » sighten. ' P. » yvelUs. * py»t»»e- 




LoDgland's alliteration of initials : as if Us example Iiad, as it vere, ap- 
propriated that mode of versification to Uie subject, and the supposed 
character which supports the satire^. All these poems vere, for the 
most part, founded on the doctrines newly broached by WicUiffe": 
who maintained, among other things, that the dergy should not possess 
estates, that the ecclesiastical ceremonies obstructed true devotion, and 
that Mendicant friars, the particular object of our Plowman's Crede, 
were a public and insupportable grievance. But Wickliffe, whom Mr. 
Hume pronounces to have been an enthusiast, like many other re- 
formers, carried his ideas of purity too &r ; and, as at least it appears 
from the two first of these opinions, under the design of destroying su- 
perstition, his undistinguishing zeal attacked even the necessary aids of 
religion. It was certainly a lucky circumstance, that Wicklifie quar- 
relled with the Pope. His attacks on superstition at first probably 
proceeded from resentment. Wickliffe, who was professor of divinity 
at Oxford, finding on many occasions not only his own province invaded, 
but even the privileges of the university frequently violated by the pre- 
tensions of the Mendicants, gratified his warmth of temper by throwing 
out some slight censures against all the four orders, and the popes their 
principal patrons and abettors. Soon afterwards he was deprived of 

in Chaucer's Plowman's Tale this Crede is 
alluded to. v. S005. 

And of Freru I have before 

Told in a making of a Crede; 

And yet I could tell worse and more. 
This passage at least brings the Plowman 'a 
Tale below the Crede in time. But some 
have thought, very improbably, that this 
Crede is Jack Upland, 

' It is extraordinary that we should find 
in this poem one of the absurd arguments 
of the puritans against ecclesiastical esta- 
blishments. V. 2253. Urr. edit. 

For Christ made no cathedralls, 
Ne with him was no Cardinalls. 
But see what follows, concerning Wick* 

* It b remarkable, that they touch on 
the very topics which Wicklifle had Just 
published in his Objections of Freres, 
charging them with>0ly keresUi, As in 
the following: ** Also Freres buildin many 
great churches, and costy wast houses and 
doisteres, as it wem castels, and that with- 
outen nede," &c Lewis's Wickliff, p. 22. 
I will here add a passage from Wickliffe's 
tract entitled Why poor Priests have no 
Benefices. Lewis, App. Num. six. p. 289. 
"'And yet they [lords] wolen not present 
a clerk able of kunning of god's law, but 
a kitchen clerk, or a penny clerk, or wise in 
building castlett or worldly doing, though 
he kunne not reade well his sauter," &c. 
Here is a manifest piece of satire on Wyke- 

ham, bishop of Winchester, Wlckliflb's co- 
temporary ; who is supposed to have re- 
commended himself to Edward the Third 
by rebuilding the casUe of Windsor. Thia 
was a recent and notorious instance. Bui 
in this appointment the king probably paid 
a compliment to that prelate's singular ta- 
lents for business, his activity, circum- 
spection, and management, rather than to 
any sdentiflc and professed skill in archi- 
tecture which he might have possessed. It 
seems to me that he was only a supervisor 
or comptroller on this occasion. It was 
common to depute churchmen to thb de- 
partment, fi^m an idea of their superior 
prudence and probity. Thus John, the 
prior ofStSwithin's atWinchester In 1280, 
is commissioned by brief from the king, to 
snperrise large repairs done by the sheriff 
in the castle of Winchester, and the royal 
manor of Wolmer. MS. Registr. Priorat 
auat 1 9. foL 3. The bishop of St Darid'a 
was master of the works at building King^s 
College. Heame'sEhnh.p.353. Alcock, 
bishop of Ely, was comptroller of the royal 
buildings under Henry the Seventh. Par- 
ker, HUt.Cambr. p. 119. He,likeWyke- 
ham, was a great builder, but not thierc- 
fore an architect. Richard Williams, dean 
of Lichfield and chaplain to Henry the 
Eighth, bore the same office. If S8. Wood, 
Lichfield. D. 7. Ashmol. Nicholas Town- 
ley clerk, was master of the works at Car- 
dinal CoUege. MS. Twyne, 8. f. 89 1 . Se« 
also Walpole, Anecd. Paint i. p. 40. 


the wardeoahip of Canterbury hall, by the archbishop of Canterbury, 
who substituted a monk in his place. Upon this he appealed to the 
Pope, who confirmed the archiepiscopal sentence, by way of rebuke for 
the freedom with which he had treated the monastic profession. Wick- 
lifie, highly exasperated at thb usage, immediately gave a loose to his 
indignation, and without restraint or distinction attacked in numerous 
sermons and treatises, not only the scandalous enormities of the whole 
body of monks, but even the usurpations of the pontifical power itself, 
with other ecclesiastical corruptions. Having exposed these palpable 
abuses with a just abhorrence, he ventured still farther, and proceeded 
to examine and refute with great learning and penetration the absurd 
doctrines which prevailed in the religious system of his age : he not 
only exhorted the laity to study the Scriptures, but translated the Bible 
into English for general use and popular inspection. Whatever were 
his motives, it is certain that these efforts enlarged the notions of man- 
kind, and sowed those seeds of a revolution in religion, which were 
quickened at length and brought to maturity by a favourable coinci- 
dence of circumstances, in an age when the increasing growth of lite- 
rature and curiosity naturally led the way to innovation and improve- 
ment But a visible diminution of the authority of the ecclesiastics, in 
England at least, had been long growing from other causes. The dis- 
gust which the laity had contracted from the numerous and arbitrary 
encroachments boUi of the court of Rome, and of their own clergy, 
had greatly weaned the kingdom from superstition ; and conspicuous 
symptoms had appeared, on various occasions, of a general desire to 
shake oflp the intolerable bondage of papal oppression. 


Viariaus specimens ofcUUteratwe poeiry, Anikni aUUeraiive Hymn to 
the Virgin Maty, 

Longland's peculiarity of style and versification seems to have had 
many contemporary imitators. One of these is a nameless author on 
the fashionable history of Alexander the Great : and his poem on this 
subject is inserted at the end of the beautiful Bodleian copy of the 
French Roman d' Alexandre, before mentioned, with this reference*: 
** Here fayleth a prossesse of thb rommance of Alixander the wheche 
prossesse that fayleth ye schuUe fynde at the ende of this boke ywrete 

" See above, toI. i. p. 142. It is in a a hand of the reign of Henry the Sixth, 

di£terent hand, yet with Saxon characters. and the tcribe gives his name Thomat 

See ad calc cod. f. 209. It has miniatures Smyths^, at the oondusion, in a cypher. It 

in water colours. [This portion of the is certainly the same poem as that in MS. 

alliterative Romance of Alexander, which Ashmole 44. and its commencement cor- 

is intended to supply a deficiency, real or responds with the beginning of passus 18. 

supposed, in the French text, is written in in the latter MS.— M.] 


in Engelyche rjme.** It is imperfect, and begins and proceeds 

How Alexander partyd thennys.^ 

When thb weith at his wil weduring hadde. 

The dureful rathe rommede he rydinge ; 

To Oridrace with his ostAlixandre wendus ; 

There wilde centre was wist, and wondurful peple, 

That weren proved ful proude, and prys of hem helde ; 

Of bodi went thei bare withoute any wede^ 

And had grave on the ground many grete cavys ; t 

There here wonnynge was wynturus and somerus. 

No syte nor no sur stede sothli thei ne hadde, 

But holus holwe in the grounde to hide hem inne ; 

The proude Genosophistiens^ were the gomus called, 

Now is that name to mene the nakid wise. 

Wan the kiddeste of the cavus, that was kinge holde, 

Hurde tydinge telle and toknynge wiste, 

That Alixaundre with his ost atlede thidirre, 

To beholden of horn hure hiejest pry nee. 

Than waies of worshipe wittie and quainte 

With his lettres he let to the lud sende. 

Thanne southte thei sone the foresaide prynce. 

And to the schamlese schalk schewen hur lettres. 

Than rathe let the rink reden the sonde. 

That newe tythingeit tolde in this wise : 

The gentil Geneosophistians, that gode were of witte. 

To the emperour Alixandre here aunsweris wreten. 

That is worschip of word worthi to have. 

And is conquerer kid in centres manie. 

Us is sertefyed, seg, as we soth heren 

That thou hast ment with thi man amongis us ferre 

But yf thou kyng to us come with caere to fi^te 

^ There is a poem in the Ashmolean " How he telleth Alexandre of hit man- 
Museum, complete in the former part, metrie." 

which I believe is the same. MSS. Ashm. '< How Alexandre sente aunswere to Did- 

44. It has twenty-seven passus, and be- . dimus by lettres." 

gins thus : " How Duidimus sendyd an ans^re to 

When folker fastid and fed, faync waldc „ „ Alexandre by lettre/' 

»i. : k^.« *' How Alexandre sente Duidimua another 

thei here lettre " 

Sum farand thinge, &c. „ ^ow Alexandre pight a pelyr of marbyl 

« At the end are these rubrics, with void thcr." 

.p«»., intended to be «!«!. ^^^ ^^ ^ ^^ „^^„ „„,y ^ g,,. 

** How Alexandre remewid to a flood that lowed by a void space in the Bodleian 

is called Phison."- copy ; the former being filled up with such 

"How king Duidimus sente lettres to king versification as is given in Mr. Warton'a 

Alexandre." text, which led Ritson to consider it a 

«<How Duidimus enditid to Alexaundre much earlier composition than Piers Plow- 

of here levyng." man. — Park.] 

** How he spareth not Alexandre to telle ' Gymnosophists. 

hym of hys governance.'* 


Of us getist thou no good, gome, we the warne. 

For what richesse, rink, us might you us bi-reve, 

Whan no wordliche wele is with us founde? 

We ben sengle of us silfe, and semen ful bare, 

Nouht welde we nowe, but naked we wende. 

And that we happili her haven of kynde 

May no man but God maken us tine. 

Thei thou fonde with thi folke to fighte with us alle, 

We schuUe us kepe on cau^t our cavus withinne. 

Nevere werred we with wijth uppn erthe; 

For we ben hid in oure holis or we harme laache. 

Thus saide sothli the sonde that thei sente hadde, 

And al so cof as the king kende the sawe, 

New lettres he let the Indus bitake. 

And with his sawes of soth he sikerede hem alle, 

That he wolde faire with his folke in a faire wise« 

To b%olden here home, and non harme wurke. 

So hath the king to hem sente, and sithen with his peple» 

Kaires cofli til hem, to kenne of hure fare. 

But whan thai sieu the seg with so manye ryde, 

Thei war agrisen of his grym, and wende gref tholie; 

Fast heiede thei to holis, and hidden there*, 

And in the cavus hem kept from the king steme, &c. 

Another piece, written in LongIand*8 manner, is entitled, 'fuB 
Warres of the Jewss, This was a favourite subject, as I have 
before observed, drawn from the Latin historical romance, which 
passes under the ni^me of Hegssippus de Excidio Hierusalbm. 

In Tyberyus tyme the trewe emperourf 
Syr Sesar hym [self sesed '] in Rome, 
Whyl Pylot was provost under that prynce ryche, 
And [jewes^] justice also in Judeus londis. 
Herode under his empire, as heritage wolde, 
King of Galile was ycallid, whan thbt Crist deyed. 
They' Sesar sakles wer, that oft syn hatide. 
Throw Pilot pyned he was, and put on the rode. 
A pyler was down py)t^ upon the playne erthe, 

* [In the Bodleian library, MS. Greaves f [The present text hi|« been collated 

60. is a fragment of another alliterative with the Cott. MS. Calig. A. ii. The or- 

romance on the subject of Alexander, to- tho{pvphi/ral differences between this and 

tally different fVom the former one, and the Laud MS. are numerous though not 

which I have good grounds to believe was important All its readings improving the 

composed by the same poet who wrote the sense have been adopted ; though this 

English alliterative romance of Wylliam perhaps would have been wholly super- 

and the Wcrwolft edited by me for the fluous had the original transcript been 

Roxburgh Club, in 1831.— M.] correctly made. — Price.] 

> tuls saysed. ' sewen. ' This is the orthography observed for both 

ihmigh and they. It occurs again below : " they it," though it. * pyjt was don. 


His body [bowndone*] therto beten with 8eottigi8» 

Whippes of [wlierebole^3 byweot his white 8idet» 

Til he al on rede blode ran as rayn on the strete; 

[Sith7] stockyd hym an a stole, with styf menes hondis, 

Blyndfelled hym as a be, and boffetis hym n^te ; 

)if you be a prophete of pris, prophecie, they sayde» 

Which man her aboute [boiled^] the laste. 

A strange thorn crown was thraste on his hed ; 

[They ^] casten [up a gret] cry, [that hym on] cros slowen, 

For al the harme that he had, hasted he nojt 

On hym the vyieny to venge, that hys venys brosten, 

Bot ay taried on the tyme, )if they [tume^^] wolde 

Gaf [hem ' * ] space that him spilede they [hit spedde ^^]lyte, 

[Fourty wynter"] as y fynde, and no fewer, &cfi 

Notwithstanding what has been supposed above, it is not quite cer- 
tain that Longland was the first who led the way in this wngwlAr species 
of yersification. His Vision was written on a popular subject, and is 
the only poem, composed in this capricious sort of metre, which has 
been printed. It is easy to conceive how these circumstances contri- 
buted to give him the merit of an inventor on this occasion. 

The ingenious Dr. Percy has exhibited specimens of two or three 
other poems belonging to tibis class ^ One of these is entitled Death 
AND Life: it consists of two hundred and twenty-nine lines, and is di- 
vided into two parts or FiUs, It begins thus : 

Christ christen king that on the cross tholed, 
Hadde paines and passyons to defend our soules; 

< Laad. . . 88. MSS. Bibl. BodL Ad [An objection has been taken to the 

calc. *' Hie tractatur bellum Judaiciim antiquity of the Welab poetry, from iti 

apud Jeniialem." f. 19. b. It is also in supposed want of alliteration. But this is 

Brit Mtts. Cot MSS. CaUg. A. ii. fol. not the case. For the alliteration has not 

109 — 18S. Oyraldus Cambrensis says, been perceived by those Ignorant of its 

that the Welsh and English use allitera- construction, which b to make it in the 

tion <'in omni sermone exquisito." De- middle of words, and not at the begin- 

icript Cambr. cap. xi. p. 889. O'Flaherty ning, as In this instance : 

also says of the Irish, ^ Non parv. est y^ .j„ ,, ^ ^^, ^,5^ 

apud nos in oratione eleganUce schema, i i i i i • 

quod Paromson, L e, Attimile, dicitur : j [ | I 

quoties multas dicUones, ab eadem litera I 

indpientes, ex ordine collocantur." Ogyg. * ' 

part ill. SO. p. 242. See also Dr. Percy's This Information was fanparted to Mr. 

Judicious Essay on th^ Metre of Pierce Douce by the ingenious Edward Williams, 

Plowman's Visions. [And the Introduc- the Welsh bard.— Park.] 

tory Essay to Conybeare's Illustrations of * Essay on the Metr. of P. P. Yls. p. 8. 

Anglo-Saxon Poetry, Sto. 1886.— M.] seq. 

* bouden. * quyrbole ; — ^which might have stood, since it only destroys 

the alliteration to the eye. ^Warton reads <*Such;'* the Cotton MS. 

** And sythen sette on a sete;" whence the genuine reading of the Laud MS. was 
obvious. * bobette, Cott MS. * . . . . casten hym with a cry and 

on a cross slowen. ^* tone, which if intended for atone (like dure for endure, 

sperst for dispersed, &c) might be allowed to stand. The probability is that it is an 
erroneous transcript for tome. ^1 he. *' be spedde. i* Tf aynt 

was. Perhaps: xl. wynteritwas, &c. 


GiTe 118 grace on the ground the greatlye to 0enre» 
For that royall red blood that rann from thy side. 
The subject of this piece is a Visiok, containing a contest for supe- 
riority between Our lady Dame Life, and the ttgly Jiend Dame Death: 
who with their several attributes and concomitants are personified in a 
beautiful yein of allegorical painting. Dame Life is thus forcibly 

Shoe was brighter of her blee than was the bright sonn ; 

Her rud redder than the rose that on the rise hangeth ; 

Meekdy smiling with her mouth, and merry in her lookes ; 

Eyer laughing for loye» as shee like would. 

And as she came by the bankes, the boughes eche one 

They lowted to that ladye, and layd forth their branches ; 

Bloflsomes and bui^ens breathed full sweete, 

Flowers flourished in the frith, where she forth stepped. 

And the grasse that was gray grened belive. 
The figure of Death follows, which is equally bold and ezpressiye. 
Another piece of this kind, also quoted by Dr. Percy, is entitled 
Chevelere Assigne, or De Cigne, that is, the Knight of the Swan* 
This is a romance which is extant in a prose translation from the 
French, among Mr. Garrick's noble collection of old plays 1 We must 
not forget, that among the royal manuscripts in the Britbh Museum, 
there is a French metrical romance on this subject, entitled UYstoire 
i>u chevalier au Signe'. Our English poem begins thus'^ : 

AU-weldynge god, whenne it is his wylle, 

Wele he wereth his werke with his owne honde ; 

For ofte harmes were hente that helpe we ne my^te 

Nere the hy^es of hym that lengeth in hevene. 

For this, &c 

' K. Tol. 10. '< Imprinted at London bj teretting pieces in Otmar't Volkasagen. 

me WyUiam Copland." There is en edi- It muf t have oblained an early and ge- 

tion on parchment by W. de Worde, 1518. neral circulation in Flanders ; for Nicolaei 

" Newly translated oot of Frenshe into de Klerc, who wrote at the commenee- 

Engiyshe at thinstigacion of the puys- ment of the 14th oentnry (1318), thna 

•aunt pryace lorde Edward duke of Buck- refers to it in his Brabandsche Yeesten : 
yj*-..." Ho. I »»d«rt.nd French om d.t t». Br.b«>t di. Hertogh«. 

S^frr'sr' •" ^^"•" ^^"^- Kd^^^^i^rheTwToTd-^^^ 

• See ilSS. Coti. Calig. A. ii. f. 109. ^"^^^ *" \>x:xM^\it Rime rertrecken. 
123. [The romance was printed from this i. e. because /brtntfr/y the dukes of Ora- 
lis, by Mr. Utterson, for the Roxburgh bant have been much belied, to-wit, ih^t 
aub, 4to. 1820.— M.] they came with a Swan, I have undertaken 

[The ^eelebrated Godfrey of Bullogne to disclose the truth, and to propound it 

was said to have been linndly descended in Dutch Rhyme. SeeVanWy nut supra, 

from the Chevalier au Cigne. Melanges p. 270. The French romance upon this 

d'ane Or. Biblioth. vol. v. a iii. p. 148. subject, consisting of about 30,000 verses. 

The tradition is still current in the Duchy was begun by one Renax or Renaux, and 

cf Cteves, and Ibrmt one of the most in* finished by Gandor de Douay.-— Fftics.] 


This alllteratiye measure, unaccompanied with rhyme, and indudtdg 
many peculiar Saxon idioms appropriated to poetry, remained in use 
so low as the sixteenth century. In Dr. Percy's AnHent Ballads^ 
there is one of thb class called The Scottish Fbildb, containing a 
very circumstantial narrative of the battle of Flodden fought in the 
year 1513. 

In some of the earliest of our specimens of old English^poetry', we 
ave long ago seen that alliteration was esteemed a fashionable and fa- 
vourite ornament of verse. For the sake of throwing the subject into 
one view, and further illustrating what has been here said concerning it, 
I chuse to cite in this place a very antient hymn to the Virgin Mary, 
ne^er printed, where this affectation professedly predominates^ 

Hail beo yow' Marie, moodur and may, 

Mylde, and meke, and merciable ; 

Heyl f olliche fruit of sothfast fay, 

Agayn vche stryf studefast and stable I 

Heil sothfast soul in vche a say, 

Undur the son is non so able. 

Heil logge that vr lord in lay. 

The formast that never was founden in fable ; 

Heil trewe, trouthfuU, and tretable, 

Heil cheef ichosen of chastite; 

Heil homely, hende, and amyable, 

To preye for us to thi 9one 90 fre ! A.y^. 

Heil sterre, that never stunteth liht, 
Heil bush, brennyng that never was brent; 
Heil rihtful rulere of even riht, 
Schadewe to schilde that scholde be schent; 
Heil, blessed be yoWe blosme briht, 
To trouthe and trust was thine entent. 
Heil mayden and modur, most of miht. 
Of all mischeves and amendement ; 
Heil spice sprong, that never was spent, 
Heil trone of the trinitie ; 
Heil soiene" that God ussone to sent 
Yowepreyefor us to thi sone so/re f Ave. 

I See Sect.!. Cfijvej mxYae mober feynt:* Marie 

^ Among the Cotton manuscripts there Minej* huejr leonie, mi leoue lej^i. 

is • Norman Saxon alliterative hymn to ^ See some pageant-poetry, ftiU of alli- 

the Virgin Mary, Ner. A. xiv. f. 240. cod. teration, written in the reign of Henry 

membran. Bto. " On ^ob ureisun to ure the Seventh, LelancL Coll. iiL App. 180. 

lefdi.*' That is, A good prayer to our edit. 1770. 

iady. ^ F. Seyen. Sc^on. 


Heyl herteiy in holinesse^ 
Heyl hope of help to heighe and lowe; 
Heil strength and stal of stabylnesse, 
Heyl wyndowe of hevene wowe ; 
Heil reson of al rihtwysnesse, 
To vche a caityf comfort to knowe; 
Heyl inocent out of angemesse, 
Vr takel, vr tol, that we on trowe ; 
Heyl frend to all that beoth forth flowe, 
Heyl liht of love, and of lewte ; 
Heyl brihter then the blod on snowe^ 
Yowe preyefor us to thi sane sofre / Ave. 

IV. \ 

Heil mayden, heil modur, heil martir trewe^ 

Heyl kyndly iknowe confessour ; 

Heil evenere of old lawe and of newe, 

Heyl buildor bold of Cristes hour ; 

Heyl rose hijest of hyde and hewe» 

Of all fruytes feirest flour ; 

Heyl turtell trustiest and trewe, 

Of all trouthe thou art tresour ; 

Heyl puyred princesse of paramour, 

Heyl blosme of brere, brihtest of ble; 

Heyl owner of eorthly honour, 

Yowe preye far us to thi sone so fire ! Ave, &c, 


Heyl hende, heyl holy emperesse^ 
Heyle queene corteois, comely, and kynde ; 
Heyl distruyere of everi strisse, 
Heyl mender of everi monnes mynde ; 
Heil bodi that we ouht to blesse. 
So feythful frend may never mon fynde ; 
Heil levere and lovere of largenesse, 
Swete and swetest that never may swynde ; 
Heil botenere of everie bodi blynde, 
Heil boi^n, brihtes of all bounte ; 
Heyl trewore then the wode bynde, 
Yowe preye fi^ us to thi sone so fie / Ave. 


Heyl modur, heyl mayden, heyl hevene quene, 

Heyl gatus of paxadys ; 

Heyl sterre of the se that ever is sene, 

Heyl riche, royall, and ryhtwys ; 

Heyl burde, iblessed mote yov^e bene I 

Heyl perle of al perey the pris ; 


Heyl schadewe in vche a schour schene, 

Heil fairer then the flour de lys ; 

Heyl cher chosen that never naa chla, 

Heyl chef chamber of charite ; 

Heyl in wo that ever was wis, 

Ywoepreyefar us io iM wne sofre f Ave, Ac. &c.» 

These rude stanzas remind us of the Greek hymns ascribed to Or- 
pheus, which entirely consist of a cluster of the appellations appro- 
priated to each divinity. 


John Barbour's Bisiory of Robert Bruce, and Blind Harry's Sir WU- 
Ham Wailace. Historical romances of recent etfenis commence about 
the dose of the fourteenth century. Chiefty composed by heralds* 
Charader and business of antient heralds. NarraHves written by 
them. Froissarfs History. His life and character. Betrospeetive 
views of manners. 

Although this work is professedly confined to England, yet I cannot 
pass over two Scotch poets of this period, who have adorned the 
English language by a strain of versification, expression, and poetical 
imagery, far superior to their age ; and who consequently deserve to 
be mentioned in a general review of the progress of our national poetry. 
They have written two heroic poems. One of them is John Barbour, 
archdeacon of Aberdeen. He was educated at Oxford ; and Rymer 
has printed an instrument for lus safe passage into England, in order 
to prosecute his studies in that university, in the years 1357 and 1S65^. 
David Bruce, king of Scotland, gave him a pension for life, as a reward 
for his poem called the History of Robert Bruce, kino of thb 
ScoT8^ It was printed at Glasgow in the year 1671^. A battle 
fought by lord Douglas is thus described* 

Quhen thir twa bataillis wer 
Assemblyt, as I said yow er. 
The Stewart Waltre that than was, 
And the gud lord als of Douglas, 
In a batail quhen that thai saw 
The erle, for owtyn dred or aw, 

* MS. Vernon. 1 123. In thb numn- ^ Feed. vi. 31. 478. 

•cript are serenl other pieces of thii sort. * Tanner, Bibl. p. 73. 

[The Holy Virgin appears to a priest * 12mo. [The present text hu been 

who often sung to her, and ealls him her ulcen from Dr. Jamieson's edition of the 

joeuiator. MSS. James, xxii. p. 3S — Bruce, 4to. Bdin. 1881.— Paica.] 


AflsembiU with his cumpasy 

On all that folk sa sturdely, . 

For till help him thai held thair way, 

[And their battle with good array,] 

Besid the erle a litil by. 

And asaemblyt sa hardely. 

That thair layb feld thair cammyn wele; 

For with wapynnys stalwart of stele. 

Thai dang upon with ail thair myeht, 

Thar fiiyis resawyt weile, Ik hydit, 

With swerdis speris, and with mase, 

The batail thar so feloune was, 

And swa rycht gret spilling of bind. 

That on the erd the floussis stud. 

The Scottismen sa will thaim bar, 

And swa gret slauchter maid thai thar. 

And fra sa fele the lyris rewyt, 

That all the feld bludy wes lewyt. 

That tyme thar thre batailis wer 

All syd besid fechtend will ner, ^ 

Thar mycht men her many dint, 

And wapynnys apon armuris stynt, 

And se tumble knychtis and stedis. 

And mony rich and reale wedis 

Foully defoullyt wndre fete. 

Sum held on loft, sum tynt the suet 

A Lang quhile thus fechtand thai war. 

That men na noyis mycht her thar. 

Men hard noucht bat granys and dintis 

That slew fyr, as men slayis on flyntis. 

They faucht ilk ane sa egerly. 

That thai maid nother noyis na cry, 

Bot dang on othyr at thair mycht, 

With wapnys that war buniyrt brycht. 

The arowys almia thyk thar flaw, 

(That thay mycht say wele, that thaim saw) 

That thai a hydwys schour gan ma ; 

For quhar thai fell, Ik wndreta. 

Thai left eftir thaim taknyng, 

That sail ned, as I trow, leching. 

The Inglis archeris schot sa fast, 

That mycht thair schot hafi^ ony last. 

It had bene hard to Scottismen* 

Bot king Robert, that wele gan ken. 

That thair archeris war peralouss, 

And thair schot rycht hard and grewouss. 


Ordanyt forouth the assemble, 

Hys marschel, with a gret menye, 

Fyve hundre armyt in to stele. 

That on lyeht horss war horsyt welle, 

For to pryk amang the archeris, 

And swa assaile thaim with thair speris. 

That thai na layser haiff to schute. 

This marschel that Ik of mute, 

That Schyr Robert of Keyth was cauld. 

As Ik befor her has yow tauld, 

Quhen he saw the bataillis sua 

Assembill, and togidder ga, * 

And saw the archeris schoyt stoutly, 

With all thaim off his cumpany. 

In hy apon thaim gan he rid. 

And our tuk thaim at a sid. 

And ruschyt amang thaim sa rudly, 

Stekand thaim so dispitously, 

And in sik fusoun berand doun, 

And slayand thium for owtyn ransoun. 

That thai thaim scalyt euirilkane ; 

And, fra that tyme furth, thar was nane 

That assemblyt, schot to ma. 

Quhen Scottis archeris saw that thai sua 

War rebutyt, thai woux hardy, 

And with all thair mycht schot egrely 

Amang the horss men that thar raid. 

And woundis wid to thaim thai maid. 

And slew of thaim a full gret dele. 

Thai bar thaim hardely and wele ; 

For fra thair fayis archeris war 

Scalyt, as I said till yow ar, 

That ma na thai war be gret thing, 

Swa that thai dred nocht thair schoting. 

Thai woux sa hardy, that thaim thoucht, 

Thai suld set all thair fayis at nocht^' 

The following is a specimen of our author's talent at rural descrip- 
tion. The verses are extremely soft. 

This wes in tiie moneth of May, 
Quhen byrdis syngis in ilk spray, 
Melland thair notis with seymly soune, 
For softnes of the suet sesoun. 
And leyys of the branchys spredis, 
And blomys brycht besid thaim bredis, 

* p. 262. 


And feldift ar strowyt with flouris 

Well sawerand of ser colourisy 

And all thing worthisy blyth and gay.* 

The other wrote a poem on the exploits of Sir William Wallace. It was 
first printed in 1601. And very lately reprinted at Edinburgh in quarto^ 
with the following title, ^'The acts and deeds of the most famous and 
valiant champion Sir William Wallace, knight, of Ellerslie. Written 
by Blind Harrt in the year 1S61. Together with Arnaldi Blair 
Relationes. Edinburgh, 1758.** No circumstances of the life of our 
blind baid appear in Dempster'! This poem, which consists of twelve 
books, is translated from the Latin of Robert Blare, or Blair, chaplain 
to Sir William Wallace'. The following b a description of the moni« 
ing, and of Wallace arming himself in his tent^ 

In till a waill be a small ry wer fiiyr, 

On athir sid quhar wyld der maid repayr, 

Set wachis.owt that wysly couth thaim kepe. 

To souppar went, and tymysly thai slope. 

Off meit and sleip thai cess with suffisiance. 

The nycht was myric, oordrayff the dyrkfuU chance, 

The mery day sprang fra the oryent, 

With bemys brycht enlumynyt the Occident, 

Efter Titan, Phebus wp rysyt fayr, 

Heich in the sper, the signes maid declayr. 

Zepheras b^an his morow courss, 

The swete wapour thus fra the ground resourss ; 

The humyll breyth doun fra the hewyn awaill 

In every meide, bathe fyrth, forrest and daail. 

The der rede amang the rochis rang 

Throuch greyn branchis quhar byrdis blythly sang. 

With joyus woice in hewynly armony. 

Than WaUace thocht it was no tyme to ly : 

He croyssit him, syne sodeynli upnuss, 

To tak the ayr out off his palyon gais 

* p. 335. ' See Dempit vUL S49. 663. Lewjt he was befor in Paktsi town, ftc. 

■ Tit. ObstaWillklmi Wallas. See He was the man that pryndpall wndir- 
DcrnpsL B. 148. He flourished in ISOO. tnk. 

He has left another Ladn poem, Ds libb- That iyrat compild in dy t the Latyne buk, 

RATA TTBANNIOB Scotia. Arnald Blair, Off Wallacb lyff, rycht famouss of re- 
mentioned in the title page in the text, nowne, 

probably Robert's brother, if not the samr, And Thomas Gbat persone of Liber- 
was also chaplain to Wallace, and monk of toume, 

Dnmferiing about the year 13S7. Relat. With him thai war and put in story aU 

nt supr. p. 1. But see p. 9, 10. In the Oftt ane or bath mekiU of his travaill, 
fifth book of the Scotch poem we have ftc 

this passage, p. 94. t. 5S8. a p. jag. b. viii. ▼. 65. The editor 

Malster Jhorb Blatr was oflt in that seems to have modernised the spelling. 

[Dr. Jamieson's text has been adopted for 

A worthy deck, bath wyss and rycht sa- this edition. — ^Price.] 


114 BLIND HA.R1i7. [sECT. XI. 

Maister Jhon Blar was redy to rawess. 
In gud entent syne bownyt to the mess; 
Quhen it was done, Wallace can him aray. 
In his armour, quhilk gudly was and gay; 
His schenand schoyis that bumyst was full beyn> 
His leg-hames he clappyt on so plene, 
Pullane greis he braissit on full fast, 
A closs bymy with mony sekyr clasp, 
Breyst-plait, brasaris, that worthy was in wer : 
Besid him furth Jop couth his basnet ber ; 
His glytterand glowis grawin on aither sid, 
He semyt weill in battaill till abid. 
His gud gyrdyll, and syne his burly brand, 
A staff off steyll he gryppy t in his hand. 
The ost him blyst, &c 

Adam Wallaice and Boid furth with him yeid 
By a revir, throu out a floryst meid. 
AjDd as thai walk atour the feyldys greyn, 
Out off the south thai saw quhar at the queyn 
Towart the ost come ridand sobyrly, 
And fyfty ladyes was in hyr cumpany, &c. 
The four following lines on the spring are uncommonly terse and 

Gentill Jupiter, with his myld ordinance, 
Bath erb and tre revertis in plesance ; 
And fresch Flora hir floury mautill spreid. 
In euery waill bath hop, hycht, hill, and meide.*" 

A different season of the year is here strongly painted. 
The dyrk regioun apperand wondyr fieisty 
In November quhen October was past. 
The day faillit throu ryeht courss worthit schort. 
Till banyst men that is no gret comfort: 
With thair power in pethb worthis gang, 
Hewy thai think quhen at the nycht is lang. 
Thus Wallace saw the nychtis messynger ; 
Phebus had lost his fyry bemys der : 
Out of the wood thu durst nocht turn that tyd 
For adversouris that in thair way wald byde.' 

The battle of Black-Emside shows our author a master in another 
style of painting. 

Kerl6 beheld on to the bauld Heroun, 
Upon Fawdoun as he was lukand doune, 
A suttell straik wpwart him tuk that tide 
Wndir the chokkeis the grounden suerd gart glid, 
>* Lib. iz. V. 22.-ch. i. p. 850. < Lib. v. ch. i. p. 78. ▼. 1. 


By the gude mayle, bathe halw and his crag-bayne 
In sondyr straik; thus endyt that cheftayiie^ 
To grounde he fell, feile folk about him thrang, 
Tresoune, thai criyt, traytouris was thaim amang. 
Kerlye, with that, fled out sone at a side, 
His falow Stewyn than thocht no tyme to bide. 
The fray was gret, and fast away thai yeid, 
Sawch towart Era; thus chapyt thai of dreid. 
Butler for woo off wepyng mycht nocht stynt. 
Thus raklesly this gud knycht haiff thai tynt. 
They demyt all that it was Wallace men, 
Or ellis himself, thocht thai couth nocht him ken; . 
He is richt ner» we sail him haiff bot failly 
This febill woode may him littill awaill, 
Fourtie thar past agayne to Sanct Jhonstouo, 
With this dede corss, to berysing maid it boune. 
Partyt thar men, syne diverss wayis raid» 
A gret power at Dipplyn still thar baid. 
To Dalwryoch the Bnilet past bot let, 
At syndry furdis the gait thai umbeset. 
To kepe the wode quhill it was, day thai thocht 
As Wallace thus in the thik forrest socht. 
For his twa men in mynd he had gret payne, 
He wist nocht weill, gif thai war tayne or slayne, 
Or chapyt haile be ony jeperte. 
Threttene war left witii him, no ma had he ; 
In the Gask-hall thair lugyng haif thai tayne. 
Fyr gat thai sone, bot meyt than had thai nane ; 
Twa scheipe thai tuk besid thaim of a fauld, 
Ordanyt to soupe in to that seemly hauld : 
Graithit in haist sume fude for thaim to dycht : 
So hard thai blaw rude homys wpon hycght. 
Twa sende he forth to luk quhat it mycht be ; 
Thai baid rycht lang, and no tithingis herd he, 
Bot boustouss noyis so brymly blewand fast ; 
So othir twa in to the woode furth past. 
Nane come agayne, bot boustously can blaw, 
In to gret ire he send thaim furth on raw. 
Qnhen he allayne Wallace was lewyt thar, 
The awfuU blast aboundyt mekiU mayr; 
Then trowk he weill thai had his ludgyng seyne ; 
His suerd he drew of nobill mettall keyne, 
Syn furth he went quhar at he hard the home. 
With out the dur Fawdoun was him befom, 
As till his sycht, his awne hed in hb hand ; 
' A croyss he maid quhen he saw him so stand. 

I 2 


At Wallace in the hed he Bwaket thar» 

And he in haist sone bynt it by the hair. 

Syne out agayn at him he couth it cast. 

In till his hart he was gretlye agasL 

Rycht Weill he trowit that was no spreit of man. 

It was sum dewill, at sic malice began. 

He wyst no waill thar langar for to bide. 

Up throuch the hall thus wicht Wallace can glid. 

Till a doss stair, the burdis rai£P in twyne, 

Fyftene fute large he lap out of that in. 

Wp the wattir he sodeynelye couth fair, 

Agayne he blent quhat perance he sawe thair. 

Him thocht he saw Fawdoun, that hugly syr. 

That haill hall he had itet in a fyr ; 

A gret raftre he had intill his hand. 

Wallace as than no langar walde he stand. 

Off his gud men full gret mervaill had he, 

How thai war tynt throuch his feyle fantasS. 

Traistis rycht weill all this was suth in deide, 
• Suj^poss that it no poynt be of the creid& 

Power thai had with Lucifer that feU, 
. The tyme quhen he partyt fra hewyn to hell. 

Be sic myscheiff giff his men mycht be lost, 

Drowny t or slayne amang the IngUs est ; 

Or quhat it was in likness of Faudoun. 

Quhilk brocht his men to suddand confusioun; 

Or gif the man endyt in ewill entent 

Sum wikkit spieit agayne for him present. 

I can nocht spek of sic divinit6, 

To deikis I will lat all sic matteris be: 

Bot of Wallace, furth I will yow telL 

Qtthen he was went of that perell fell; 

Yeit glad wes he that he had chapyt swa, 

Bot for lus men gret mumyng can he ma. 

Flayt by him self to the Maker off buflb 

Quhy he sufferyt he suld sic paynys pruflb 

He wyst nocht weill giff it wes GodcUs will ; 

Ryxsht or wrang his fortoun to fullfill, 

Hade he plesd God, he trowit it mycht nocht be 

He sikLd him tboill in sic peiplexiti. 

Bot gret curage in his mynd evir drai£^ 

CMT Tngliflin ^i ^ thinktfld aniftn<ii<f to ^ ftif^^- 

As he was thus walkand be him allayne 
Apon £m side, makand a pytuouss mayne, 
Schyr Jhone Butler, to wache the furdls rychV 
Out fina his men of Wallace had a sycht; 


The myst wes went to the montanjs agayne» 

Till him he raid, quhar at he maid his mayne. 

On loude he sperde, quhat art thow walkls that gait? 

A trew man, Schyr, thocht my wiagis be layt; 

Erandis I pass fra Doun to my lord, 

Schir Jhon Sewart, the rycht for till record. 

In Donne is now, new cummyn fra the king. 

Than Butler said ; this is a selcouth thing, 

Thou leid all out, thow has beyne with Wallace, 

I sail the knaw, or thow cum of this place. 

Till him he stert the courser wondyr wicht, 

Drew out a suerd, so maid him for to lycht 

Abown the kne gud Wallace has him tayne, 

Throw the and brawn in sondyr straik the bayne. 

Derlly to dede the knycht fell on the land* 

Wallace the horss sone sesyt in his hand, 

Ane awkwart straik syne tuk him in the stede. 

His crag in twa ; thus was the Butler dede. 

Ane Inglissman saw thair chiftayne wes slayn, 

A sper in reyst he kest with all his mayne. 

On Wallace draifF, fra the horss him to ber; 

Warly he wrocht, as worthi man in wer. 

The sper he wan with outjrn mor abaid, 

On horss he lap, and throw a gret ront raid ; 

To Dawryoch he knew the forss full weill : 

Befor him come feyll stuf^t in fyne steill. 

He straik the fyrst, but baid, in the blasoune, 

Quhill horss and man bathe flet the wattir doune, 

Ane othir sone doune fra his horss he bar, 

Stampyt to grounde, and drownyt with outyn mar* 

The thrid he hyt in his harness of steyll 

Throw-out the cost, the sper to brak sum deylL 

The gret power than ^ftir him can ryd. 

He saw na waiU no langar thar to byd« 

His bumist brand braithly in hand he bar, 

Quham he hytt rycht thai folowit him no mar. 

To stuff the chass feyll frekis folowit fast, 

Bot Wallace maid the gayast ay agast. 

The mur he tuk, and throw thair power yeid, 

The horss was gud, bot yeit he had gret dreid 

For failyeing or he wan to a strenth. 

The chass was gret, scalyt our breid and lenth. 

Throw Strang danger thai had him ay in sycht. 

At the Blakfurd thar Wallace donn can lycht. 

His horss stufiyt, for the way was dope and lang, 

A large gret myile wichtly on fute couth gang. 

118 BLIND HARRY, [sfiCT. XI. 

Or he was horst rydaris about him kest, 
He saw full weyll hing swa he mycht nocht lest. 
Sad men in deid wpon him can renew, 
With retomyng that nycht twenty he slew, 
The forseast ay rudly rabutyt he, 
Kepyt hys horss, and rycht wysly can fle, 
Quhill that he cum the myrckest mur amang. 
His horss gaiff our, and wald no forthyr gang."" 

I will close these specimens with an instance of our author's allego- 
rical invention. 

In that slummir cummand him thocht he saw, 

Ane agit man fast towart him couth draw, 

Sone be the hand he hynt him haistele, 

I am, he said, in wiage chargit wHh the. 

A suerd him gaiff off burly bumist steill, 

Gud sone, he said, this brand thou sail bruk weill. 

Off topas stone him thocht the plumat was, 

Baith hilt and hand all glitterand Hk the glas. 

Der sone, he said, ^e tary her to lang, 

Thow sail go se quhar wrocht is mekill wrang; 

Than he him lad tiU a montane on hycht. 

The warld him thocht he mycht se with a sicht 

He left him thar, syne sone fra him he went, 

Tharof Wallace studiit in his entent, 

Till se him mar he had still gret desyr, 

Tharwith he saw begyne a felloune fyr, 

Quhilk braithly brynt on breid throu all the land, 

Scotland atour, fra Ross to Sulway-sand. 

Than sone till him thar descendyt a qweyne, 

Inlumyt, lycht, schynand full brycht and scheyne; 

In hyr presens appery t so mekill lycht. 

At all the fyr scho put out off his sycht, 

Gaiff him a wand off colour reid and greyne, 

With a safiyr sanyt his face and eyne, 

Welcum, scho said, I cheiss the as my luff; 

Thow art grantyt be the gret God abuff, 

nil help pepill that sufferis mekill wrang, 

With the as now 1 may nocht tary lang, 

Thou sail return to thi awne oyss agayne, 

Thi derrast kyne ar her in mekill payne ; 

This rycht regioun thow mon redeme it all, 

Thi last reward in erd sail be bot small ; 

Let nocht tharefor, tak redress off thb myss, 

To thi reward thou sail haiff lestand blyss. 

■ p. 82. 


Off hir rycht hand Bcho betaucht him a bok, 
Humylly thus hyr leyff full sone scho tak> 
On to the cloud asoendyt off his sycht 
Wallace brak up the buk in all hia myght 
In thre partis the buk weill writyn was. 
The fyrst writyng was gross letteris off bras. 
The secound gold, the thrid was silver scheyne. 
Wallace merveld quhat this writyng suld meyne ; 
To rede the buk he besyet him so fast. 
His spreit agayne to walkand mynd is past, 
And wp he raiss, syne sodandly furth went.' 
This clerk he fand, and tald him his entent 
Off thw wisioun, as I haiff said befor, 
Completly throuch ; Quhat nedis wordis mor. 
Der soncy he said> my witt unabill is 
To runsik sic, for dreid I say off myss ; 
Yit I sail deyme, thocht my cunnyng be smally 
God grant na chargis efitir my wordis falL 
Saynct Androw was gaiff the that suerd in hand, 
Off Sanctis he is the wowar off Scotland ; 
That montayne is quhar he the had on hycht, 
Knawlage to haiff off wrang that thow mon rycht ; 
The fyr sail be fell tithingis, or ye part, 
Quhilk will be tald in mony syndry art. 
I can nocht witt quhat qweyn at it suld be, 
Quhethir Fortoun, or our Lady so fre, 
Lykly it is, be the brychtnes scho brocht, 
Modyr off him that all this warld has wrocht. 
The prety wand, I trow, be myn entent, 
Assignes rewile and cruell jugement ; 
The red colour, quha graithly wndrestud, 
Betaknes all to gret battaill and bind ; 
The greyn, curage, that thow art now amaug. 
In strowble wer thou saU conteyne full lang ; 
The saphyr stayne scho blissit the with all, 
Is lestand grace, will God, sail to the fall ; 
The thrynfald buk is bot this brokyn land, 
Thou mon rademe be worthines off hand ; 
The bras lettris betakynnys bot to this, 
The gret oppress off wer and mekill myss, 
The quhilk thow sail bryng to the rycht agayne, 
Bot thou tharfore mon suffer mekil payne ; 
The gold takynnis honour and worthinas, 
Wictour in armys, that thou sail haiff be grace: 
The silver shawis cleyne lyff and hewynys blyss, 
To thi reward that myrth thou sail nocht myss, 


Dreid nocht tbarfory be out off ail despayr. 
Forthir as now heroff I can na mair *• 
About the present period, historical romances of recent events seem 
to have commenced. Many of these appear to have been written by 
heralds^. In the library of Worcester collie at Oxford, there is a 
poem in French, reciting the achievements of Edward the Black Prince, 
who died in the year 1376. It is in the short verse of romance, and 
was written by the prince's herald, who attended close by his person 
in all his battles, according to the established mode of those times. 
This was John Chandois-herald, frequently mentioned in FroissarU In 
this piece, which is of considerable length, the names of the English- 
men are propeiiy spelled, the chronology exact, and the epitaph', form- 
ing a sort of peroration to the narrative, the same as was ordered by 
the prince in his will™. This poem, indeed, may seem to claim no place 
here, because it happens to be written in the French language : yet, 
exclusive of its subject, a circumstance I have mentioned, that it was 
composed by a herald, deserves particular attention, and throws no small 
illustration on the poetry of this era. There are several proofs which 
indicate that many romances of the fourteenth century, if not in verse, 
at least those written in prose, were the work of heralds. As it was 
their duty to attend their masters in battle, they were enabled to record 
the most important transactions of the field with fidelity. It was custom- 
ary to appoint none to this office but persons of discernment, address, 
experience, and some degree of education''. At solenm tournaments 

* [In a aubflequent part of this work, rauds, p. 44. a. See also Faviiu p. 57. 

Section xxxii. Warton has acknowledged See a curioos description in Froltsart, of 

his error in making this earlj mention of an interview between the Cliandois-he- 

blind Harry ; who lived in the latter half raid, mentioned abore, and a marshal of 

ofthefifteendi century. The Scottish poet, France, where they enter into a warm 

whose rank the blind minstrel is thus made and very serious dispute concerning the 

to assume, is Andrew of Wyntoun, a writer derice$ d*am<mr borne by each army. Liv. 

unknovm to Warton. As it does not fall i. ch. 161. 

within the scope of the present edition to [A curious collection of German poems 
supply omissions of this kind, the reader evidently compiled from these heFaldic 
is referred to Mr. Macpherson's edition of registers, has recently been discovered in 
Wyntoun's"OrygynaleCronykilofScot- the library of Prince Sinsendorf. The 
land ;" Mr. Ellis's Specimens of the Early reader will find an account of them and 
English Poets; and Mr. Irving's Lives of their author Peter Suchenwirt (who li- 
the Scottish Poets.— Price.] ved at the close of the fourteenth century) 

^ See Le Pere Menestrier, ChevaL An- in the 14th volume of the Vienna Annals 

cien. c v. p. 226. Par. 12mo. of Literature {JakrhUcher der LUeratmr, 

> It is a fUr and beautiful manuscript Wien. 1814). They are noticed here for 

on vellum. It is an oblong octavo, and their occasional mention of English af- 

formeriy belonged to Sir WUUam le Neve, fain. The life of Burkhard v. Ellerbach 

Clarendeux herald. recounts the victory gained by the En- 

■ The hero's epitaph is frequent in ro- glish at the battle of Cressy ; in which 
mances. In the French romance of Saintre, this terror of Prussian and Saracen infi- 
written about this time, his epitaph is in- dels was left for dead on the field, "the 
troduced. blood and the grass, the green and the red, 

■ Le Pere Menestrier, Cheval. Ancien. being so completely mingled in one ge- 
ut supr. p. 225. ch. v. "Que I'on croyoit neral mass," that no one perceived him. 
avoir fjBfpnV' &c Feron says that they — Friedrich v. Chreuspeckh served in 
gave this attendance in order to make a Scotland, England, and Ireland. In the 
true report L'InsUt des Roys et He- latter country he joined an army of 




they made aaeflsential part of tbeoeremoDy. Here they had an oppor- 
tunity of observing accoutrements, armorial distinctions, the number and 
appearance of the spectators, together with the various events of the tur- 
ney, to the best advantage : and they were afterwards obliged to compile 
an amfde register of this strange ndxture of foppery and ferocity ®. They 
were necessarily connected with the minstreb at public festivals, and 
thence acquired a facility of reciting adventures. A learned French an* 
tiquary is of opinion, that antiently the French heralds, called SirauXf 
were the same as the minstrels, and that they sung metrical tales at fe- 
8tivals^ They frequently received fees or largesse in common with the 
minstrels % They travelled into different countries, and saw the fashions 

to encounter the standard bearer of 
France : " He drove his spear through the 
viser of his adTersary — the enemy's ban- 
ner snnlc to the earth never to rise again 
— ^Von Traun planted hit foot upon its 
staff; when the lung of France was made 
captive, and the battle was won." For 
his gallantry displayed on this day, Ed- 
ward granted him a pension of a hundred 
marks. He is afterwards mentioned as 
being intrusted by Edward III. with the 
defence of Calais during a ten weeks siege ; 
and at a subsequent period as crossing the 
channel, and capturing a (French ?) ship, 
which he brought into an English port 
and presented to Edward. — It is to be 
hoped these poems will be published. 
The slight analysis of their contents given 
by Mr. Frimisser, and on which this note 
is founded, is just sufficient to exdte, 
without gratifying, curiosity. — Price.] 

* " L'un des principauz fonctions des 
Herautes d'armes £toit se trouverau jousts, 
&C. ou ils gardoient les 6cus pendens, re- 
cevoient les noms et les blasons des che- 
valiers, en tenoient regibtre, et en com- 
posoient recueils," &c Menestr. Orig. der 
Armoir. p. 180. See also p. 119. These 
registers are mentioned In Perceforeat, zi. 
68. 77. 

' Carpentier, SnppL Du-Cang. Gloss. 
Lat p. 750. torn. ii. 

^ Thus at St George's feast at Windsor 
we have, *' Diversis heraldis et mini- 
strallis," &c Ann. 31 Ric If. 9 Hen. 
VI. Apud Anstis, Ord. Gart. i. 56. 108. 
And again. Exit. Pell. M. ann. 22 Edw. 
III. ** Magistro AndresB Roy Norreys, [a 
herald,"] Lybekin ie Piper, et Hanakino 
Alio suo, et sex aliis menestrallit regit in 
denariis eis liberatis de dono regis, in sub- 
sidium expensarum suarum, Iv. t, iv. d.*' 
—Exit PeU. P. ann. 33 Edw. II. " Wil- 
lielmo Volaunt regi heraidorum et mini- 
straUit existentibus apud Smithfield in 

80,000 (!) men, about to form the siege 
of a town called Traehtal (?) ; but the army 
broke up without an engagement On 
his return from thence to England, the 
fleet in which he sailed fell in with a 
Spanish squadron, and destroyed or 
captured six-and-twenty of the enemy. 
These events occurred between the years 
IS38-36. Albrecht v. Narnberg follow- 
ed Edward III. into Scotland, and appears 
to have been engaged in the battle of Ha- 
lidown-hilL— But the "errant knight" 
most intimately connected with England, 
was Hans v. Traun. He joined the ban- 
ner of Edward III. at the siege of Calais, 
during which he was engaged in cutting 
off some supplies sent by sea, for the re- 
lief of the bteieged. He does ample jus- 
dee to the valour and heroic resistance of 
tiie garrison ; who did not surrender till 
their stock of leather \ rope and similar 
materials, — which had long been their 
only ibod,— >was exhausted. Rats were 
sold at a crown each. In the year 1356 
he attended the Black Prince in the cam- 
paign which preceded the battle of Poic- 
tiers ; and on the morning of that event-- 
All fight. Prince Edward honoured him 
with the important charge of bearing the 
English standard. The battle is described 
with considerable animation. The hostile 
armies advanced on foot, the archers form- 
ing the vanguard. *' This was not a time," 
says the poet, ''for the interchange of 
chivalric dvilities, for friendly greetings, 
and cordial love : no man asked his fel* 
low for a violet or a rose * ; and many a 
hero, like the ostrich, was obliged to di- 
gest both iron and steel, or to overcome in 
death the sensations inflicted by the spear 
and the javelin. The field resounded with 
the dash of swords, dubs, and battle- 
axes ; and with shouts of Naier Dam and 
Satd Joru" But Yon Traun, mindAil of 
the trust reposed in him, rushed forward 

* The original reads "sehuch, sil, chvnt und hewt;" the two last I interpret **kind 
~ ^ ' So I interpret ^ umb veyal (veilchen) noch mnb i 


of foreign courts and foreign tournaments. They not only committed 
to writing the process of the lists, but it was also their business, at 
magnificent feasts, to describe the number and parade of the dishes, 
the quality of the guests, the brilliant dresses of the ladies, the courtesy 
of the knights, the revels, disguisings, banquets, and every other oc- 
currence most observable in the course of the solemnity. Spenser al- 
ludes expressly to these heraldic details, where he mentions the splen- 
dor of Florimers wedding. 

To tell the glory of the feast that day, 

The goodly servyse, the devisefull sights. 

The bridegrome's state, the bride's most rich array, 

The pride of ladies, and the worth of knights. 

The royall banquettes, and the rare delights, 

Were work fit for an herald, not for me'. 

I suspect that Chaucer, not perhaps without ridicule, glances at 
some of these descriptions, with which his age abounded ; and which 
he probably regarded with less reverence, and read with less edifica- 
tion, than did the generality of his cotemporary readers. 

Why shulde I tellen of the rialte 

Of that wedding? or which course goth beforn ? 

Who blowith in a trumpe, or in a horn'? 

Again, in describing Cambuscan's feast. 

Of which shall I tell all the array. 

Then would it occupie a sommer's day : 

And eke it nedeth not to devise. 

At everie course the order of servise: 

I will not tellen as now of her strange sewes, 

Ne of her swans, ne of her heronsewes *. 

And at the feast of Theseus, in the Knight's Tale^ 

The minstralcie, the service at the feste. 
The grete geftes also to the most and leste. 
The riche array of Theseus palleis, 
Ne who sat first or last upon the deis. 
What ladies feyrist ben, or best daunsing, 
Or which of them can best dauncin or sing, 
Ne who most felingly spekith of love, 
Ne what haukes sittin on perchis above, 
Ne what houndes liggen on the fioure adoun. 
Of all this now I make no mentioun. 

ultimo hastiludio de dono regis, z^" I ' Manof Lawe's Tale, v. 704. 

could give many other proofs. * Squire's Tale, v. 83. 

' F. a V. iii. 3. "" V. 21^9. p. 17. U«r. 



Id the Flours and the Leap, the same poet has described, in 
eleven long stanzafl, the procession to a splendid tournament, with all 
the prolixity and exactness of a herald *. The same affectation, derived 
from the same sources, occurs often in Ariosto. 

It were easy to illustrate this doctrine by various examples. The 
fiunous French romance of Saintre was evidently the performance of 
a herakL John de Saintre, the knight of the piece, was a real person, 
and, according to Froissart, was taken prisoner at the battle of Poitien^ 
in the year IS56K But the compiler confounds chronology, and 
ascribes to his hero many pieces of true history belonging to others. 
This was a common practice in these books. Some authors have sup- 
posed that this romance appeared before the year ISSO^. But there 
are reasons to prove that it was written by Antony de la Sale, a Bur- 
gondian, author of a book of Ceremonies, from his name very 
quaintly entitled La Sallade, and frequently cited by our learned 
antiquary Selden*. This Antony came into England to see the so- 
lemnity of the queen's coronation in the year 144*5*. I have not seen 
any French romance which has preserved the practices of chivalry 
more copiously than this of Saintre. It must have been an absolute 
master-piece for the rules of tilting, martial customs, and public cere- 
monies prevailing in its author's age. In the library of the Office of 
Arms, there remains a very accurate description of a feast of Saint 
George, celebrated at Windsor in 1471 ^ It appears to have been 
written by the herald Blue-mantle Poursuivant. Menestrier says, that 
Guillaume Rucher, herald of Henault, has left a large treatise, descri- 
bing the tournaments annually celebrated at Lisle in Flanders^. In the 
reign of Edward the Fourth, John Smarte, a Norman, garter king at 
arms, described in French the tournament held at Bruges, for nine 
days, in honour of the marriage of the duke of Burgundy with Marga- 
ret the king's daughter^. There is a French poem, entitled Les fwms 
€t kg armes des seigneursy Sfc, a Fassiege de Karkverch en Escoccy 1300^ 
This was undoubtedly written by a herald. The author thus describes 
the banner of John duke of Bretaigne. 

Baniere avoit cointee et paree 
De or et de asur eschequeree 
Au rouge ourle o jaunes lupars 
Determinee estoit la quarte pars'. 

* Prom V. 204. to v. 287. d^crit Ics joustce, tournois, noms, armoi- 

* Froissart, HUt. i. p. 178. ries, livries, et Equipages de divers sei- 
^ Bysshe, Not in Upton. Milit. Offic. gneurs, qui se rendoient de divers endroits, 

p. 56. Menestrier, Orig. Arm. p. 23. avec les catalogues de rois de cette fesle." 

■ Tft ^on. p. 413, &c. Menestr. TOrig. des Armoir. p. 64. 

* Anst. Ord. Gart. ii. 321. ' See many other instances in MSS. 
^ MSS. Offic. Arm. M. 15. fol. 12. 13. Harl. 69. fol. entit. The Booke of certainc 
^ *' Guillaume Rucher, h^rautjij'armes Triumphes. See also Appendix to the 

du titre de Heynaut, a fait un gro^olume new edition of Leland's Collectanea. 

des rois de TEpinette a Lisle en Ffandcrs; * MSS. Cott. Brit. Mus. 

c'cst une c^r^monie, ou un festc, dont il a ' The bishop of Glocester has most 


The pompous circumstances of which these henddic narratives con- 
sistedy and the minute prolixity with which they were displayed^ seem 
to have infected the professed historians of this age. Of this there are 
various instances i^ Froissart, who had no other design than to com- 
pile a chronicle of real facts. I wiU give one example out of many. 
At a treaty of marriage between our Richard the Second and Isabel 
daughter of Charles the Fifth king of France^ the two monarchs, at- 
t^ded with a noble retinue, met and formed several encampments in 
a spacious plain, near the castle of Guynes. Froissart expends many 
pages in relating at large the costly furniture of the pavilions, the 
riches of the side-boards, the profusion and variety of sumptuous 
liquors, spices, and dishes, with their order of service, the number of 
the attendants, with their address and exact discharge of duty in their 
respective offices, the presents of gold and precious stones made on 
botii sides, and a thousand other particulars of equal importance, re* 
lating to the parade of this royal interviews^* On this account, Cax* 
ton, in his exhortation to the knights of hb age, ranks Froissart's 
history, as a book of chivalry, with the romances of Lancelot and Per- 
civai ; and recommends it to their attention, as a manual equally cal- 
culated to inculcate the knightly virtues of courage and courtesy \ 
This indeed was in an age, when not only the courts of princes, but the 
castles of barons vied with one another in the lustre of their shows ; 
when tournaments, coronations, royal interviews, and solemn festivals, 
were the grand objects of mankind. Froissart was an eye-witness of 
many of the ceremonies which he describes. His passion seems to have 
been that of seeing magnificent spectacles, and of hearing reports con- 
cerning them*. Although a canon of two churches, he passed his life 
in travelling from court to court, and from castle to castle^. He thus, 

obligingly condescended to point out to be recorded, the clerks are ordered to 

me another source, to which many of the transcribe in a book, which was called Le 

romances of the fourteenth century owed Umre de* avenements aux chemUiers, &e. 

their existence. Mont&ucon, in his Mo- Et demerra le dit Uvre toujourt en la diete 

numens de la Monarchic Fran^ise, has chapeUe. This sacred register certainly 

printed the Statuts de POrdre du Saint furnished from time to time ample mate- 

Etprit au droit desir ou du Noeud etabU rials to the romance-writers. And thia 

par Louis d'Atyou roi de Jerusalem et Si' drcumstance gives a new explanation to 

cOs en 1352-3-4. torn. iL p. 329. This was a reference which we so frequently find 

an annual celebration au Chastel de FEt{f In romances ; I mean, that appeal which 

enehoHti du merveiUeux peril The castle, they so constantly make to some authen- 

as appears by the monuments which ac- tic record. 

company these statutes, was built at the ■ See Froissart'sCronycle, translated by 

foot of the obscure grot rf the enchant- lord Bemers. Pmson, 1523. toL ii. C 242. 

MBNTS of Virgil. The statutes are as ex- ^ Boke of the Ordre pf CheeaUye or 

traordinary as if they had been drawn up Knighthood : translated out of the Frenshe 

by Don Quixote himself, or his assessors and imprinted by WyUitm Caxtom. S. D. 

the curate and the barber. From the Perhaps 1484. 4ta 

seventh chapter we learn, that the knightt ' His fitther was a painter of armories, 

who came to this yearly festival at the This might give him an early turn ibr 

chatel de tetf, were obliged to deliver in shows. See M. de la Cume de S. Palaye. 

writing to the clerks of the chapel of the Mem. Lit torn. x. p. 664. edit. 4to. 

castle their yearly adventures. Such of ^ He was originally a clerk of the 

these histories as were thought worthy to chamber to Philippa, queen of Edward 

8BCT.XI.] FROI88AIIT*8 HI8«>BT« 135 

either from hfo own observatioiiy or the credible informations of othen» 
easily procured suitable materials for a history, which professed only to 
deal in sensible objects, and those of the most splendid and conspicuous 
kind. He was familiarly known to two kings of England, and one of 
Scotland'. But the court which he most admired was that of Gaston 
earl of Foix, at Oilaix in Beam ; for, as he himself acquaints us, it was 
not only the most brilliant in Europe, but the grand centre for tidings 
of martial adventures™. It was crowded with knights of EngUnd and 
Arragon. In the meaii time it must not be forgot that Froissart, who 
from his childhood was strongly attached to carousals, the music of 
minstrels, and the sports of hawking and hunting^, cultivated the 
poetry of the troubadours, and was a writar of romances^ This turn, 
it must be confessed, might have some share in communicating that 
rom^tic cast to his history which I have mentioned. During his abode 
at the court of the earl of Foix, where he was entertained for twelve 
weeks, he presented to the earl his collection of the poems of the duke 
of Luxemburgh, consisting of sonnets, balades, and virelays. Among 
these was included a romance, composed by himself, called Mbliadeb^ 
or Thb Knight of ths Sun of Gold. Gaston's chief amusement 
was to hear Froissart read thb romance? every evening after supper^. 
At his introduction to Richard the Second, he presented that briUiant 
monarch with a book beautifully illuminated, engrossed with his own 
hand, l>ound in crimson velvet, and embellished with silver bosses, 
clasps, and golden roses, comprehending all the matters of Amours and 
Moralities, which in the course of twenty-four years he had com- 
poeed^ This was in the year 1S96. When he left England the same 

the Third. He wu afterwardf canon and present to Gatton Earl of Foix fonr 

treainrer of Chimay in Henault, and of greyhoundB, which were called by the 

Liale in Flanden ; and chaplain to Ouy romantic names of Trisintwt, Hgctor, 

earl of Castellon. Labor. Introd. k THist Brut, and Roland, Oaston was so fond 

de Charles VL p. 69. Compare also Frois- of hunting, that be kept upwards of six 

sart's Chron. VL £ 29. S05. 819. And hundred dogs in his castle. M. de la 

BiiUart, Academic des Arts etdes Sciences, Cume, ut supr. p. 676. 678. He wrote 

L p^ 185. 136. a treatise on huntbg, printed 1520. See 

I CroD. iL £ 158. 161. Verdier, Art Oabton C^Mte deFoix. In 

^ Cron. ii. £ 80. This was in 1 38 1. illustration of the former part of this note, 

* See Mem. Lit. ut supr. p. 665. Cresdmbeni says, " Che in molte nobi- 

* Speaking of the death of king Rich- lissime fiimiglie Italiane, da 400 a piik 
ard, Frc^ssart quotes a prediction from anni, passarono i nomi de* LaneUhtH, 
the old French prose romance of Brat, de' Trittani, de' Oakfoni, de' Oaleotiif 
which he says wu fulfilled in that cata- delle lioite [Isoulde^i delle Oetuon, e 
strophe. UtJv. c 119. Froissart will be d'altri cavalieri, e dame in esse Tatolb 
mentioned again u a poet. Rotohdb operanti," ftc Istor. Volg. Foes. 

' I take this opportunity of remarking, vol. i. lib. ▼. p. 827. Venet. 4to. 

that romantic tales or histories appear at 'I should think that this was his ro- 

a very early period to have been rkad as *manoe of Meliadbr. Froissart says, 

well as SUNG at feasts. So Wace, in the that the king at receiving it, asked him 

Roman du Rou, in the British Museum^ what the book treated o£ He answered 

above-mentioned, vd. L p. 59. tTAfnottr. The king, adds our historian. 

Doit I'en les vera et U» regestes, •««?>«^ much pleased at this; and ex- 

Et les estoirea lirb as festes. "*""^* J^^*^.'" ""^ P^««^ f«' *>• 

was fond of reading as weU as speaking 

* Froissart brought with him for a French. He then ordered Richard Crcn- 


year*, the king sent him a massy goblet of silver, filled with one hun- 
dred noblest 

As we are approaching to Chaucer, let us here stand still, and take a 
retrospect of the general manners. The tournaments and carousals of 
our antient princes, by forming splendid assemblies of both sexes, while 
they inculcated the most liberal sentiments of honour and heroism, un- 
doubtedly contributed to introduce ideas of courtesy, and to encourage 
decorum. Yet the national manners still retained a great degree of fero« 
city, and the ceremonies of the most refined courts in Europe had often 
a mixture of barbarbin, which rendered them ridiculpus. This absurdity 
will always appear at periods when men are so far civilised as to have 
lost their native simplicity, and yet have not attained just ideas of polite- 
ness and propriety. Tlieir luxury was inel^ant, their pleasures inde- 
licate, their pomp cumbersome and unwieldy. In the mean time it may 
seem surprising, that the many schools of philosophy which flourished 
in the middle ages should not have corrected and polished the times. 
But as their religion was corrupted by superstition, so their philosophy 
degenerated into sophistry. Nor is it science alone, even if founded on 
truth, that will polish nations. For this purpose, the powers of imagi- 
nation must be awakened and exerted, to teach el^^t feelings, and to 
heighten our natural sensibilities. It is not the head only that must be 
informed, but the heart must also be moved. Many classic authors were 
known in the thirteenth century, but the scholars of that period wanted 
taste to read and admire them. The pathetic or sublime strokes of 
Viigil would be but little relished by theologists and metaphysicians. 

don, the chevalier in waiting, to carry it f. 382. Frolasart was here properly 

into his privy chamber, dotU il me fit classed. 

homte ekere.- He gave copies of the seve- ' Froissart says, that he accompanied 

iftl parts of his Chronicle, as they were the king to various palaces, ** A Elten, a 

finished, to his different patrons. Le Ledos, a Kinkestove, a Genes, a Certes^, 

Laboureur says, that Froissart sent fifty- et a Windsor." That is, Eltham, Leeds, 

six quires of his Roman au Cronlques to Kingston, Chertsey, ftc. Cron. liv. iv. 

Ouillaume de Bailly an illuminator; c 119. p. 348. The French are not much 

which, when illuminated, were Intended improved at this day in spelling English 

as a present to the king of England. places and names. 
Hist ch. vi. en la Vie de Louis due d' [Perhaps by Cenett Froissart means 

Ai^ou. p. 07. seq. See also Cron. i. iv. Shene, the royal palace at Richmond.— 

c. i. — iii. 26. There are two or three fine Additions.] 

illuminated copies of Froissart now re- * Cron. f. 251. 252. 255. 319. 348. 

maining among the royal manuscripts in Bayle, who has an article on Froissart, 

the British Museum. Among the stores had no idea of searching for anecdotes 

of Henry the Eighth at hU manor of of Froissart's life in his Chronicle. In- 

Bedington in Surry, I find the fi»hion- stead of which, he swells his notes on this 

able reading of the times exemplified in article with the contradictory accounts of 

the following books, viz. " Item, a great Moreri, Vossius, and others ; whose dis- 

book of parchmente written and lymned putes might have been all easily settled 

with gold of graver's work De cottfeeeume by recurring to Froissart himself, who has 

jimanHt, with xviii other bookes, Le interspersed in his history many carious 

premier volume de Lancelot, Froissart, particulars relating to bis own life and 

Le grant voiage de Jerusalem, Enguerain works, 
de Monstrellot," &c MSS. HarL 1419. 



General view of the character of Chancer. Boccacio's Teseide. A 
Greehpoem on that subject. ToumamenJte at Conetantinopk, Com- 
man practice of the Greek exiles to translate the popular Italian poems. 
Specimens both of the Greek and Italian Theseid. Critical exami' 
nation of the Knights Tale, 

The most illustrious oraament of the reign of Edward the Third, and 
of his successor Richard the Second, was Jeffrey Chaucer ; a poet with 
whom the history of our poetry is by many supposed to have com- 
menced ; and who has been pronounced, by a critic of unquestionable 
taste and discernment, to be the first Englbh versifier who wrote poet- 
ically*. He was bom in the year 1328, and educated at Oxford, 
where he made a rapid progress in the scholastic sciences as they were 
then taught : but the liveliness of his parts, and the native gaiety of his 
disposition, soon recommended him to the patronage of a magnificent 
monarch, and rendered him a very popular and acceptable character in 
the brilliant court which I have above described. In the mean time, 
he added to his accomplishments by frequent tours into France and 
Italy, which he sometimes visited under the advantages of a public 
character. Hitherto our poets had been persons of a private and cir- 
cumscribed education, and the art of versifying, like every other kind 
of composition, had been confined to recluse scholars. But Chaucer 
was a man of the world ; and from this circumstance we are to account, 
in great measure, for the many new embellishments which he conferred 
on our language and our poetry. The descriptions of splendid pro- 
cessions and gallant carousals, with which his works abound, are a proof 
that he was conversant with the practices and diversions of polite life* 
Familiarity with a variety of things and objects, opportunities of acqui- 
ring the fashionable and courtly modes of speech, connections with the 
great at home, and a personal acquaintance with the vernacular poets 
of foreign countries, opened his mind, and furnished him with new 
lights^* In Italy he was introduced to Petrarch, at the wedding of 
Violante, daughter of Galeazzo duke of Milan, with the duke of Cla- 

* Johnson's Diction. PreC p. 1. nderable a put of the old French liten- 

^ The eurl of Salisbury, beheaded by ture. She used to call him, ** Gradeuz 

Henry the Fourth, could not bat patronise chevalier, aimant dicties, et lul-meme 

Chancer. I do not mean for political rea- gracieux dicteur." See M. Boirin, Mem. 

sons. The earl was a writer of verses, and Lit. torn. ii. p. 767. seq. 4to. I have seen 

very fond of poetry.^ On this account, his none of this earPs DitHes. Otherwise he 

acquaintance was much cultivated by the would have been here considered in form, 

fiunoos Christina of Pisa; whose works, as an English poet 
both in prose and verse, compose so con- 


fence i and it b not improbable that Boccacio was of the paity^ Al- 
though Chaucer had undoubtedly studied the works of these edebrated 
writers, and particularly of Dante, before this fortunate interview ; yet 
it seems likely, that these excursions gave him a new relish for their 
compositions, and enlaiged his knowledge of the Italian fables. His 
travels likewise enabled him to cultivate the Italian and Provencial lan« 
guages with the greatest success ; and induced him to polish the aspe- 
rity, and enrich the sterility of his native versification, with softer ca« 
deuces, and a more copious and variegated phraseology. In this at- 
tempt, which was authorised by the recent and popular examples of 
Petrarch in Italy and Alain Chartier in France^, he was countenanced 
and assisted by his friend John Grower, the early guide and encourager 
of his 8tudies^ The revival of learning in most countries appears to 
have first owed its rise to translation. At rude periods the modes of 
original thinking are unknown, and the arts of original composition have 
not yet been studied. The writers thereiore of such periods are chiefly 
and very usefully employed in importing the ideas of other languages 
into their own. They do not venture to think for themselves, nor aim 
at the merit of inventors, but they are laying the founiktions of lite- 
rature ; and while they are naturalising the knowledge of more learned 
ages and countries by translation, they are imperceptibly improving the 
national language. This has been remarkably the case, not only in 
England, but in France and Italy. In the year ISSTy John Trevisa, 
canon of Westbury in Gloucestershire, and a great traveller, not only 
finished a translation of the Old and New Testaments, at the command 
of his munificent patron Thomas lord Berkley ^ but also translated 
Higden's Polychromicok, and other Latin pieces^. But these trans- 
lations would have been alone insufiicient to have produced or sustained 

* Froissart was also present. Vie de ' See H. Wharton, Append. Cav. p. 49. 
Petrarqne, iii. 772. Amst 1766. 4to. I ■ Such as Bartholomew GlanviUe De 
believe Paulua Jovius is the first who ProprietatUmt Reruwtf lib. xiz. Printed 
mentions this anecdote. Vit. Oaleas. ii. by Wynkyn de Worde, 1494. fol. And 
p. 153. Vegetius De Arte mUtari, MSS. Digb. 

^ Leland, Script Brit 491. 233. Bibl. Bodl. In the same manuscript 

* Oower, Confess. Amant L v. foL 190. is iEgidius Romanus De Regimi»e Prht^ 
b. Barthel. 1554. ci/wm, a translation probably by Trerisa. 

A,^A «.^#* »«i Pk...^* »!!.... »> — #« He also translated some pieces of Ridiard 

jLirdi^S^dT/'^^^^^ s^rr9o"^'"rz/a^j:^^^ 

f: s«n^: "IZ'Z h?wer:Sa. ^^^ -rsi!!; of^^Tol^clTntn^':!!^^ 

Of dTSf^d of ™!^fiir * utility of transUtions: De UHUtate Tnme^ 

21^; u u r ^ *L A^ ... latioium, DuOogut inter Clericum et Pa^ 

The which he for my sake made, etc. ^^^^ S^^ of hU transUtions in 

[Francis Thynne, in his letter to Speght, MSS. Harl. 1 900. I do not find his En- 

(ap. Todd's Illustrations of Oower and glish Bible in any of our libraries, nor do 

Chaucer) has Justly observed, that these I believe that aoy copy of it now remains, 

lines are uttered by Venus; and eonse- Caiton mentions it in the preface to his 

quently, that the inference drawn from edition of the English Polychroideon. 

them is wholly unfounded. Chaucer had [See Lewis's Wicdiffe, p. 66. 329. And 

published aU his poems, except the Canter^ Lewis's History of the Translations of Ae 

bury Tales, previous to the appearance of Bible, p. 66. — ^Additions.] 
the Confessio Aiiiiuitis.-»PaiCB.] 


any consideraUe revolution in our language : the great work was re- 
senred for Gower and Cliaucer. Wickliffe had also translated tha 
Bible^ ; and in other respects his attempts to bring about a reformation 
in religion at this time proved beneficial to English literature. The 
orthodox divines of this period generally wrote in Latin : but Wickliffe» 
that his arguments might be familiarised to common readers and the 
bulk of the people, was obliged to compose in English his numerous 
thec^ogical treatises against the papal corruptions. Edward the Third, 
while he perhaps intended only to banish a badge of conquest, greatly 
contributed to establish the national dialect, by abolishing the use of 
the Norman tongue in the public acts and judicial proceedings, as we 
have before observed, and by substituting the natural language of 
the country. But Chaucer manifestly first taught his countrymen to 
write En^ish ; and formed a style by naturalising words horn the 
Provencial*, at that time the most polished dialect of any in Europe, 
and the best adapted to the purposes of poetical expression. 

It is certain that Chaucer abounds in classical allusions : but his 
poetry is not formed on the antient models. He appears to have been 
an universal reader, and his learning is sometimes mistaken for genius: 
but his chief sources were the French and Italian poets. From these 
originals two of his capital poems, the Knight's TaleS and the Ro- 
MAXTNT OF TRB RosE, are imitations or translations. The first of these 
is taken from Boccacio. 

Boccacio was the dbciple of Petrarch : and although principally 
known and deservedly celebrated as a writer or inventor of tales, he 
was by his cotemporaries usually placed in the third rank after Dante 
and Petrarch. But Boccacio having seen the Platonic sonnets of his 
master Petrarch, in a fit of despair committed all his poetry to the 
flames^ except a single poem, of which his own good taste had long 
taught him to entertain a more favourable opinion. This piece, thus 
happily rescued from destruction, is at present so scarce and so little 
known, even in Italy, as to have left its author but a slender proportion 
of that eminent degree of poetical reputation, which he might have 
justly claimed from so extraordinary a performance. It is an heroic 
poem, in twelve books, entitled Le Teseide, and written in the octave 

^ It it obsenrable, tiiat he made his Legende of good women, where Chaucer's 

translation from the vuIgate Latin version works are mentioned, is this passage, 

of Jerom. It was finished 1383. See MS. which I do not weU understand, v. 420. 
Cod- Bibl. C^. Eman. Cant 102. ^^^ ^ ^^ 1^^^ ^^ Palamon and Arcite 

• [Vid. mfia Sect xviii. Note f, from ^^ ^^^^^ ^^ j^ ^^ ^^^ j^^^^^ y,^, 
the Additions.] ^ 

* Cbnucer alludes to some book from [Thelastwordsseemtofanplythatithadnot 
whence this tale was taken, more than made itself very popular.— Tyrwhitt.] 
once, vis. ▼. 1. " Whilom, as oUe storie* ^ Goiget, Bibl. Ft. Tom. viL p. 328. 
tellin us." ▼. 1465. " As olde hooke* to us But we must except, that besides the 
eaine, that ail thU tiorie telUth more poem mentioned below, Boocacio*s Ama- 
plam." V. 2814. "Of soulis fynd I nought sonida, e Forze d' Ercole, are both now 
in this regUtre:' That is, this History, extant ; and were printed at Ferrara in 
or narrative. See also v. 2297. In the or about the year 1475. fol. 



stanssay called by the Italians otiaoa rima, which Boccacio adopted from 
the old French chansons, and here first introduced among his country- 
men^. It was printed at Ferrara, but with some deviations from the 
original, and even misrepresentations of the story, in the year 1475"*. 
Afterwards, I think, in 14>88. And for the third and last time at 
Venice, in the year 1528"« But the corruptions have been suffered to 
remain through every edition. 

Whether Boccacio was the inventor of the story of this poem is a 
curious enquiry. It is certain that Theseus was an early hero of ro- 
manced He was taken from that grand repository of the Grecian 
heroes, the History of Troy, written by Guido de ColonnaP. In the 
royal library at Paris, there is 'a manuscript entitled, The Roman de 
Theseus et de Gadifer^. Probably this is the printed French ro- 
mance, under the title, " Histoire du Chevalier Theseus de Coulogne, 
par sa proiiesse empereur de Rome, et aussi de son fils Gadifer empQ- 
reur du Greece, et de trois enfans du dit Gadifer, traduite de vieille 
rime Picarde en prose Francoise. Paris 15S4'." Gadifer, with whom 
Theseus is joined in this antient tale, written probably by a troubadour 
of Picardy, is a champion in the oldest French romances". He is 
mentioned frequently in the French romance of Alexander^ In the 
romance of Perceforrest, he is called king of Scotland, and said 
to be crowned by Alexander the Greats But whether or no this 
prose Histoire du Chevalier Theseus is the story of Theseus 
in question, or whether this b the same Theseus, I cannot ascertain*'. 
There is likewise in the same royal library a manuscript, called by 
Montfaucon, Historia Thesei in lingua vulgari, in ten books^. 
The 'Abbe Goiyet observes, that there is in some libraries of France an 
old French translation of Boccacio's Theseid, from which Anna de 
Graville formed the French poem of Palamon and Arcite, at the 
command of queen Claude, wife of Francis the First, about the year 
1487'« Either the translation used by Anna de Graville, or her poem, 
is perhaps the second of the manuscripts mentioned by Montfaucon. 
Boccacio's Theseid has also been translated into Italian prose, by 

^ See Cresdmben. Istor. Volgar. Poes. letter. See Lenglet, BibL Rom. page 

▼ol. i. L. i. p. 65. Yen. 1781. 4to. 191. 

^ Poema della Teseide del Boccacio ' The chevaliers of the courts of 

chiosato, e dicbiarato du Andrea de Bassi Charles the Fifth and Sixth adopted 

in Ferrara, 1475. fol. names from the old romances, such as 

° 4to. Lancelot, Gadifer, Carados, &c. Mem. 

^ In Lydgate*8 Temple of Glas, never Anc. Cheval. i. p. 340. 

printed, among the lovers painted on the ^ See vol. i. p. 141. 

wall is Theseus killing the Minotaure. I " See Historic du Perceforrest roy de 

suppose from Ovid. Bibl. Bodl. MSS. la Or. Bretagne, et Gadiffer roy d*£s- 

Fairfax, 16. Or from Chaucer, Legende cosse, &c« 6 torn. Paris, 1531. foL 

Ariadne. * [Certainly. not The romance makes 

' See vol. i. p. 129. supr. and foregoing Theseus the soii of Floridas, a king who 

note. , reigned at Cologne in Germany in the 

*» MSS. Bibl. [Reg. Paris.] Tom. ii. year of our Lord 632.— Douce.] 

974. E. * Bibl. MSS. nt supr. p. 773. 

' Fol. torn. ii. Again, ibid. 4to. black * Ut supr. p. 329. 


Nicholas 6ranucci» and printed at Luoca in 1570^ The title of Gra- 
nucci's prose Tiieseide is this, Thbseidb di Boecacio de aUava Rima 
nuovamerUe ridoUa in prosa per Nicoho Granucci di Lucca. In lAtcca 
€tppres$o Vtnzenzza Butdraghi, mdlxx. In the Dbdicaziomb to this 
work, which was printed more than two hundred years ago^ and within 
one hundred years after the Ferrara edition of the Theseide appeared, 
Granucci mentions Boccacio's work as a translation from the bar- 
barous Greek poem cited beiow. Dedicaz. fol. 5. ''Volendo far 
cosa, que non sio stata fatta da loro, pero mutato parere mi dicoli a 
ridurre in prosa questo Innamoramento, Opera di M. Giovanni Boccar 
cxoy quale egli transporto dal Greco in ociava rima per compiaoere 
alia sua Fiametta," &c.* Boecacio himself mentions Uie story of Pa- 
lamon and Arcite. This may seem to imply that the story existed be- 
fore Ms time : unless he artfully intended to recommend his own poem 
on the subject by such an allusion. It is where he introduces two lovers 
singing a portion of this tale. " Dioneo e Fiametta gran pezza cante- 
rona.insieme d'ARciTE e di PalamoneV By Dioneo, Boecacio re- 
presents himself ; and by Fiametta, his mistress, Mary of Arragon» a 
natural daughter of Robert king of Naples. 

I confess I am of opinion, that Boccacio's Theseid is an original 
composition. But there is a Greco-barbarous poem extant on this sub- 
ject, which, if it could be proved to be antecedent in point of time to 
the Italian poem, would degrade Boecacio to a mere translator on this 
occasion. It is a matter that deserves to be examined at large, and to 
be traced with accuracy. 

This Greek poem is as little known and as scarce as Boccacio's 
Theseid. It is entitled, Onveos icai yafwv ttis EfiriXias, It was printed 
in quarto at Venice in the year 1529. Stampata in Vineffiaper Gio^ 
vanantonio etfrateUi da Sabbio a requisitione de M. Damiano de Sania 
Maria de Spici m.d.xxix. del Mese de BecembrioK It is not mentioned 
by Crusius or Fabricius; but is often cited by Du Cange in his Greek 
glossary, under the title, De Nuptiis Thesei et ^mili^. The heads 
of the chapters are adorned with rude wooden cuts of the story. I 
once suspected that Boecacio, having received this poem from some of 
his learned friends among the Grecian exiles, who being driven from 
Constsmtinople took refuge in Italy about the fourteenth century, trans- 
lated it into Italian. Under this supposition, I was indeed surprised to find 

y 4to. There is a French prose trans- * [Lib. Slooian. 1614. Brit Mus.-^ 

lation with it The Theseid has also been Additions.] 

translated into French prose by D. C. C. * Giom. vii. Nov. 10. p. 348. edit 

1597. 12mo. Paris. " La Theseide de Jean Vineg. 1548. 4to. Chaucer himself al- 

Boccace, contenant les chastes amours de ludes to this story, BL Kn. v. 369. Fer- 

deux chevaliers Thebans, Arcite et Pole- haps on the same principle, 

men," &c. Jane de la Fontaine also trans- * A manuscript of it is in the Royal 

lated into French verse this poem. She Library at Paris, Cod. 2569. Du Cange 

died 1536. Her translation was never Ind. Auct. Gloss. Gr. Barb. il. p. 65. 

printed. It i» applauded by Joannes Se- col. 1. 
cttndusy Eleg. xv. 




[sect. XII, 

the ideas of chivalry, and the oeremonieB of a tournament minutely 
described, in a poem which appeared to have been writteiv at Constan- 
tinople. But thb difficulty was soon removed, when I recollected that 
the Franks, Venetians, and Germans had been in possession of that city 
for more than one hundred years; and that Baldwin earl of Flanders was 
elected emperor of Constantinople in the year 1204, and was succeeded 
by four Latin or Franicish emperors, down to the year 1261^. Add 
to this, that the word, repvEfxevroyy a tournament, occurs in the By- 
zantine hbtorians^ From the same conununication likewise, I mean 
the Greek exiles, I fancied Boccacio might have procured the stories 
of several of his tales in the Decameron : as, for instance, that of Ct- 

^ About which period it is probable 
that the anonvmous Oreelc poem, called 
the Loves of Ly bister and Rhodamna, 
was written. This appears by the Ger- 
man name Frederic, which often occurs 
in it, and is grecised, with many other 
German words. In a manuscript of this 
poem which Crusius saw, were many 
paintings and illuminations; where, in the 
representation of a battle, he observed no 
guns, but javelins, and bows and arrows. 
He sidds, ** et musicse testudines." It is 
written in the iambic measure mentioned 
below. It is a series of wandering ad- 
ventures with little art or invention. Ly- 
bister, the son of a Latin king, and a 
Christian, sets forward accompanied with 
an hundred attendants in search of Rho- 
damna, whom he had lost by the strata- 
gems of a certain old woman skilled in 
magic. He ineeta Clitophon son of a king 
of Armenia. They undergo various dan- 
gers in different countries. Lybister re- 
lates his dream concerning a partridge and 
an eagle; and how from that dream he 
^11 in love with Rhodamna daughter of 
Chyses a pagan king, and communicated 
his passion by sending an arrow, to which 
his name was affixed, into a tower, or 
eastle, called Argyrocastre, &c. See Cru- 
sii Turco-Graecia, p. 974. But we find a 
certain species of erotie romances, some 
in verse and some ia prose, existing in 
the Greek empire, the remains and the 
dregs of Heliodorus, Achilles Tatius, Xe- 
nophon the Ephesian, Charito, Eustathius 
or Bumathius, and others, about or rather 
before the year 1200. Such are the Loves 
of Rhodante and Dosicles of Theodorus 
Frodromus, who wrote about the year 
1130. This piece was imitated by Ni- 
cetos Eugenianus in the Loves of Chart* 
cell and DroslUa, See Labb. Bibl. Nov. 
Manuscript, p, 220. Whether or no The 
Loves of Callimachus and Chrysorrhoe, 
TheEroticIIistoryofHemperius, The His* 
tory of the Loves ^ Florius and Platza- 
fiora^ with some otners, all by anonymous 

authors, and in Greco-barbarous iambics, 
were written at Constantinople ; or whe- 
ther they were the compositions of the 
learned Greeks after their dispersion, of 
whom more will be said hereafter, I am 
not able to determine. See Nessell. i. p. 
342, 343. Meurs. Gloss. Gr. Barb. Y. Ba- 
vevt. And Lambecc. v. p. 262. 264. 

° As also Topve, Hastiludium, Fr. roar- 
not. And Tovpv€<r€iv, hastihtdio eonUU" 
dere, John Cantacuzenus relates, that 
when Anne of Savoy, daughter of Ama- 
deus, the fourth earl of the Allobroges, 
was married to the emperor Andronicus, 
junior, the Prankish and Savoyard nobles, 
who accompanied the princess, held tilts 
and tournaments before the court at Con- 
stantinople; which, he adds, the Greeks 
teamed of the Franks. This was in the year 
1326. Hist Byzant. 1. i. cap. 42. But Ni- 
cetas says, that when the emperor Manuel 
made some stay at Antioch, the Greeks held 
a solemn tournament against the Franks. 
This was about the year 1 160. Hist. By- 
sant. I. iii. cap. 3. Cinnamus observes, 
that the same emperor Manuel altered the 
shape of the shields and lances of the 
Greeks to those df the Franks. Hist. lib. 
iii. Nicephorus Gregoras, who wrote about 
the year 1340, affirms, that the Greeks 
learned this practice from the Franks, 
Hist. Bysant. 1. x. p. 339. edit fbl. Genev. 
1615. The word Ka/3aXXapcoi, Knights, 
Chevaliers^ occurs often in the Bysantine 
historians, even as early as Anna Comne-^ 
na, who wrote about 1 140. Alexiad. liK 
xiil. p. 41 1. And we have in J. Cantacu- 
zenus, **Tfiv KaPaXapiuiv vapetxe r<- 
firiv.** He conferred the hotiour (^^Knight- 
hood. This indeed is said of the Franks. 
HisL ut supr. 1. iii. cap. 25. And in the 
Greek poem now under consideration, 
one of the titles is, "Hws etroiifffsv ^ 
Orjfrev9 row Svo Oiy/Saiove KafiaXa- 
ptovs" How Theseus dubbed the tw 
Thebans Knights, lib. vii. Signatur. v 9 < *• 
sol. vers. , 


MON and Iphioenia, where the names are entirely Grecian, and the 
scene laid in Rhodes, Cyprus, Crete, and other parts of Greece belong* 
ing to the imperial territory^. But, to say no more of this, I have at 
present no sort of doubt of what I before asserted, that Boccacio is the 
writer and inventor of this piece. Our Greek poem is in fact a literal 
translation from the Italian Theseid. The writer has translated the 
prefatory epistle addressed by Boccacio to the Fiametta. It consists of 
twelve books, and is written in Boccacio's octave stanza, the two last 
lines of every stanza rhyming together. The verses are of the iambic 
kind, and something like the Versus Politici, which were common 
among the Greek scholars a little before and long after Constantinople 
was taken by the Turks, in the year 1453. It will readily be allowed, 
that the circumstance of the stanzas and rhymes is very singular in a 
poem composed in the Greek language, and is alone sufficient to prove 
this piece to be a translation from Boccacio. I must not forget to ob- 
serve, that the Greek is extremely barbarous, and of the lowest period 
of that language. 

It was a common practice of the learned and indigent Greeks, who 
frequented Italy and the neighbouring states about the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries, to translate the popular pieces of Italian poetry, 
and the romances or tales most in vogue, into these Greco-barbarous 
iambics*. Pastor Fi do was thus translated. The romance of Alex- 
ander THE Great was also translated in the same manner by Deme- 
trius Zenus, who flourished in 1530, under the title of AXeiav^vs 6 
More^itfv, and printed at Venice in the year 1529'. In the very year, 
and at the same place, when and where our Greek poem on Theseus, 
or Palamon and Arcite, was printed, Apollonius of Tyre, another 
famous romance of the middle ages, was translated in the same man- 
ner, and entitled Aii^T^au ApaitiraTti AxoXXiayiov rov ev Tvpy pi7/jia3aS. 

* Ghnrn. ▼. Nov. 1. ratio eorumqumApoUoiUoregi aeciderunt, 

* That is vernu poUiiei above mention- &c He says it was first written by some 
ed, a sort of loose iambic. See Langii Greek author. Velseri Op. p. 697. edit. 
PhUdogiaOrcoo-barbara. Tsetzes's Chi- 1682. fol. The Latin is in Bibl. Bodl. 
liads are written in this veniScation. See MSS. Laud, 89.--BodL P. 7. 7. And F. 
Dn Cange, Gl. Or. ii. col. 1196. 11. 45. In the preface, Velsems, who 

' Crus. ut supr. p. 373. 399. See supr. died 1614..says, that he believes the ori- 

voL L p. 139. ^nal in Greek still renuiins at Constan- 

* That is, rythmically, poetically, Gr. tinople, in the library of Manuel Euge^ 
Barb. Du Cange mentions, " MerayXiar- nicus. Montfaucon mentions a noble 
rur/ta awo Aarivucfj^ ecs PfuaiKtiv ^ijy- copy of this romance, written in the thir- 
Y^9t8 iroXXii'7ra9ov9 AtroXkuvtov rov teenth century, in the royal library at 
Tvpov." Ind. Auct Gloss. Gr. Barb. ii. Paris. Bibl. MSS. p. 753. Compare MSS. 
p. 36. coL b. Compare Fabricius, Bibl. Langb. Bibl. Bodl. vi. p. 15. GestaApol- 
Gr. vi. 821, I believe it was first printed lonii, &c. There is a manuscript in Saxon 
at Venice, 1563. vis. « Historia ApoUonii of the romance of Apollonius of Tyre. 
Tyansei, [Tyrensis] Ven. 1563. Liber Wanley's Catal. apud Hickes, ii. 146. 
Erotieas, Gr. barb, lingua exaratus ad See Martin. Crusii Turco-Graec. p. 209. 
roodum rythmorum nostrorum, rarissimus edit 1594. Gower recites many stories of 
avdit," &C. Vogt. Catal. libr. rarior. p. this romance in his Confessio Amantis. 
345. edit. 1753. I think it was reprinted He calls Apollonius " a yonge, a freshe, a 
at Venice, 1696. apud NicoL Glycem. 8vo. lustie knight" See Lib. viii. fol. 1 75 h.^ 
In the works of Velserus, there is Nar- 185 a. But he refers to Godfrey of Vi- 


The story of- king Arthur they also reduced into the some language. 
The learned Martinus Crusius, who introduced the Greco-barbarous 
language and literature into the Grerman universities, relates, that his 
friends who studied at Padua sent him in the year I564, together with 
Homer's Iliad, Aihaxai Regis Arthuri, Alexander above-mention- 
ed, and other fictitious histories or story-books of a similar cast^. The 
French history or romance of Bertrakd du Guescelin, printed at 
Abbeville in 1487 '9 and that of Belisaire, or Belisarius, they rendered 
in the same language and metre, with the titles Airrytiau efaipcrof BeX- 
Bavhpov Tov Pc#fieuov'°, and 'loropcni e^iiyiycris wepi BcXXicraptov, &c." 
Boccacio himself, in the Decameron S mentions the story of Troilus 

terbo's Pantheon, or nnivenal Chronicle, 
called also Memoria Sacuhrum, partly in 
prose, partly verse, from the Creation of 
the worid, to the year 1 186. The author 
died In 1190. 

— A Cronike in dales gone 

The which is cleped Panteone, &c. 

fol. 175 a. The play called Peridea 
Prince of Tyre, attributed to Shakspeare, 
is taken from this story of Apollonius as 
told by Gower, who speaks the Prologue. 
It existed in Latin before the year 900. 
See Barth. Adverser. Iviii. cap. i. Chaucer 
calls him "of Tyre Apolloneus." Prol. 
Man. L. Tale. v. 81. p. 50. Urr. edit, 
and quotes from this romance, 

How that the cursid king Andochua 
Birafte his daughter of hir maidinhede. 
That is so horrible a tale to rede. 
When he her drewe upon the pavement 

In the royal library there is *<Histoire 
d'ApoUin roy de Thir." Brit Mus. MSS. 
Reg. 20 C. ii. 2. With regard ^to the 
French editions of this romance, the old- 
est I have seen is, " Plalsante et agreable 
Histoire d' Apollonius prince d« Thyr en 
Affirique et roy d'Antloch, traduite par 
Oilles Corozet, Paris, 1530. Svo." And 
there is an old black-letter edition, printed 
in quarto at Geneva, entitled, " La Chro- 
nlque d*Appollin roy de Thir," At length 
the story appeared In a modem dress by 
M. le Brun, under the title of " Avantures 
d' Apollonius de Thyr," printed in twelves 
at Paris and Rotterdam', in 1710. And 
again at Paris the following year. 

[In the edition of the Gesta Roma- 
norum, printed at Rouen in 1521, and 
containing one hundred and eighty-one 
chapters, the history of Apollonius of Tyre 
occurs, ch. 153. This is the first of the 
additional chapters. — Additions.] 

k So I translate " alios id genus minores 
libellos." Crus. ibid. p. 489. Crusius was 
born in 1526, and died 1607. 

1 At the end of Le Triumphe dcs neuf 

Preux, ftc. foL That is. The Nine Wor* 

"^ See Du Cange, GL Gr. Barb.ii. Ind. 
Auctor. p. 36. col. b. This history con- 
tains Beltrand's, or Bertrand's amours 
with XpvcarZOf Chrytatsa, the king of 
Antioch's daughter. 

* See Lambecc. Bibl. Ccesar. Lib. v. p. 
264. It is remarkable, that the story of 
Date obolum BeUsario is not in Procoplus, 
but in this romance, probably Vandyck 
got this story from a modernised edition 
of it, called Bellisairb oh k Conquertmt, 
Paris. 1643. Svo. Which, however, la 
said in the title-page to be taken from 
Procopius. It was written by the sieur 
de Grenailles. 

** They sometimes applied their Greek 
iambics to the works of the antient Greek 
poets. Demetrius Zenus, above-mention* . 
ed, translated Homer's Barpaxofivofta' 
Xm: and Nicolans Lucanus, the Iliad. 
The first was printed at Venice, and after- 
wards reprinted by Crusius, Turco-Gnec 
p. 373. The latter was also printed at 
Venice, 1526. apud Stepb. Sabium. This 
Demetrius Zenus is said to be the author 
of the roXew/ivo/iax*^ ^' Battle of the 
Cats and Mice. See Crus. ubi supr. 896. 
And Fabric. BibL Gr. i. 264. 223. On 
account of the Greco-barbarous hooka 
which began to grow common, chiefly in 
Italy, about the year 1520, Stephen a 
Sabio, or Sabius, above-mentioned, the 
printer of many of them, published a 
Greco-barbarous lexicon at Venice, 1527, 
entitled, " Corona Prbtiosa, Ectrayitfyii 
vea e-JTiypa^ofievfi Dre^avos xP^^^f^^f 
Jiyovv ire^avos r«/ito«, titare fiaOeiv, 
avayivuxTKEiv, ypa^etv, voeiv, rat Xa- 
\eiv rriv i^ioirti^v Kai Arruciyv yXwo- 
trriv Tiav TpaiKtav, en ^e ca« ri|i/ ypafi" 
liariKfiv KOI rriv iSitariKrfv y\ii»<r(rav 
Tiitv Aarivcav." It is a mixture of mo- 
dern and antient Greek words, Latin and 
Italian. It was reprinted at Venice by 
Petrus Burana, 1546. 


and Cressida in Greek verse; whieh I suppose had been translated by 
some of the fugitive Greeks with whom he was connected, from a ro- 
mance on that subject; many antient copies of which now remam 
in the libraries of FranceP. The story of Florius and Platzflora, 
a romance which Ludovicus Vives with great gravity condemns under 
the name of Florian and Blanca-FloTy as one of the pernicious and 
unclassical popular histories current in Flanders about the year 152S*', 
of which there are old editions in French, Spanish', and perhaps 
Italian, is likewise extant very early in Greek iambics, most pro- 
bably as a translation into that language". I could give many others; 
but I hasten to lay before my readers some specimens both of the Italian 
and the Greek Palamon akd Arcite*. Only premising, that both 
have about a thousand verses in each of the twelve books, and that the 
two first books are introductory : the first containing the war of Theseus 
with the Amazons, and the second that of Thebes, in which Palamon 
and Arcite are taken prisoners. Boccacio thus describes the Temple 
of Mars. 

N e icampi Tracii sotto icieli hyberni 

D a tempesta continua agitati 

D oue Bchier6 di nimbi sempitemi 

D a uenti or qua e or la trasmutati 

» See Lenglet's BibL Rom. p. 258. 
" Le Roman de Troylui." And Mont- 
faucon, BibL MSS. p. 792. 793, &c. &c. 
There is, *'L'Amore di Troleo e Griseida * 
que si tratta in buone parte la Ouerra di 
Troja, d'Angelo Leonico, Yen. 1553." in 
octave rhyme. 8to. More will be said of 
this hereafter. 

* Lud. Viv. de Christiana Femina. lib. 
i. cap. cui tit. Qui nan legendi Seriptoret, 
&C. He lived at Bruges. He mentions 
other romances common in Flanders, Leo- 
nela and Canamor, Curias and Florela, 
and Pyramus and Thisbe. 

' Flores y Blancailor. En Alcala, 1512. 
4to. — Histoire Amoreuse de Flores et 
de Blanchefleur, traduite de I'Espagnol 
par Jacques Vincent Paris, 1554.. 8vo. 
— Florimont et Passeroze, traduite de 
TEspagnol en prose Fran9oise, Lyon, 15... 
8vo. There is a French edition at Lyons, 
1571. It was perhaps originally Spanish. 

[The translation of Flores and Blan- 
caflore in Greek iambics might also be 
made in compliment to Boccacio. Their 
adventures make the principal subject of 
his Philocopo: but the story existed 
long before, as Boccacio himself informs 
us, L. i. p. 6. edit 1723. Flores and 
Blancaflore are mentioned as illustrious 
lovers by Matfres Eymengau de Bezert^ 
a poet of Languedoc, in his Breviari d* 
Amor, dated in the year 1288. MSS. Reg. 

19 C. L foL 199. This tale was probably 
enlarged in passing through the hands of 
Boccacio. See Canterb. T. iv. p. 169.— 

[A German romance on this subject 
was translated by Konrad Fluke from the 
French of Robert d' Orleans, In the early 
part of the thirteenth century. The sub- 
ject is referred to at an earlier period by 
several Proven9al poets, and this, coupled 
with the theatre of its events, makes War- 
ton's conjecture eitremely probable, that 
it is of Spanish origin. — Price.] 

* See supr. p. 132, Note^ where, for 
want of further information, I left this 
point doubtfuL 

* For the use of the Greek Theseid I 
am obliged to the politeness of Mr. Stan- 
ley, who condescends to patronize and 
assist the studies he so well understands. 
I believe there is but one more copy in 
England, belonging to Mr. Ramsay the 
painter. Yet I have been told that Dr. 
George, provost of King's, had a copy. 
The first edition of the Italian book, no 
less valuable a curiosity, is in the excel- 
lent library of the very learned and com- 
municative Dr. Askew. This is the only 
copy in England. See Bibl. Smith. Ad- 
dend. foL xL Venet 1755. 4to. — [I am 
informed, that Dr. George's books, among 
which was the Greek Theseid, were pur- 
chased by Lord Spencer. — Additions.] 


1 11 uarii logbi ne iguAzo^i uemi 
£ de aqua globi per fredo agropati 
G itati Bono eneue tutta uia 
C he in giazo amano aman se induria 

£ una selua sterile de robusti 

C erri doue eran folti e alti molto 

N odosi aspri rigid! e uetusti 

C he de ombra eterna ricopreno H uolto 

D el tristo suolo enfra li antichi fusti 

D i ben mille furor sempre rauolto 

V i si sentia grandissimo romore 
N e uera bestia anchora ne pastore 

I n questa nide la cha delo idio 
A nnipotente questa edificata 
T utta de azzaio splendido e pullo 
D alquale era del sol riuerberata 
L aluce che aboreua il logho no 
T utta differro era la stretta entrata 
£ le porte eran de etemo admante 
F errato dogni parte tutte quante 

£ le le colone di ferro eustei 

V ide che lo edificio sosteneano 
L i impeti de menti parue alei 

V eder che fieri dela porta usiano 
£ il ciecho pechare e ogne omei 
S imilemente quiui si uedeano 

V idiue le ire rosse come focho 
£ la paura palida in quel locho 

£ con gli occult! ferri itradimenti 

V ide e le insidie con uista apparenza 
Ju i discordia sedea esanguinenti 

F erri auea in mano e ogni differenza 
£ tutti i loghi pareano strepent! 
D aspre miqaze e di crude! intenza 
£ n mezo illocho la uertu tristissima 
S edea di degne laude pouerissima 

V ideui ancoia Iq alegro furore 

£ oltre acio con uolto sanguinoso 
L a morie armata uide elo stupore 
£ ogni altare qui uera copioso 
P i sangue sol ne le butaglie fore 
P 1 corpi human cacciato e luminoso 


£ ra ciaachun di focho tolto a terre 
A rse e diffate per le triste guerre 

£ t era il tempio tutto historiato" 
D i socil mano e di sopra ed intomo 
E cio che pria ui uide designate 
E ran le prede de nocte e di giomo 
T olto ale terre e qualunque sforzato 
F u era qui in habito musorno 

V ideanuissi le gente incatenate 
P orti dl ferro e forteze spezate 

V edeui ancor le naue bellatrici 
I n uoti carri e li uoiti guastati 
E i miseri pianti & infelici 

£ t ogni forza con li aspecti e lati 

gni ferita ancor si vedea lici 
£ sangue con le terre mescolati 
£ ogni logo con aspecto fiero 

S i uedea Marte turbido e altiero. &c.' 

The Temple of Venus has these imageries. 

P oi presso ase uidde passar belleza 
S enza omamento alcbun se riguardando 
£ gir con lei uidde piaceuolleza 
£ luna laltra secho comendano 
P oi con lor uidde istarsi gioueneza 
D estra e adoma molto festegiando 
£ daltra parte uidde el fole ardire 
L usinge e ruffiania in sieme gire 

1 n mezo el locho in su alte colone 

D i rame uidde un tempio al qual dintomo 

* Thus, ^Topurnara means paintings, In the middle Latin writers we have de- 

properly history-paintings, and loropecv, jnngere historialiter, to paint with hi- 

and avtffT0p9tv, is to paint, in barbarous stories or figures, vis. " Forinsecus deai- 

Oreek. There are various examples in bavit illud [delubrum,] intrinsecus autem 

the Bysantine writers. In middle La- depinxit histortaliter,** Dudo de Act. 

Cinity Historiographus signifies literally a Norman. L iii. p. 153. Dante uses the 

Painter, Perhaps our Historiographer Italian word before us in the same sense. 

RorAL was originally the king's Jllumi^ Dante, Purgat CanL x. 

motor, 'Itrropioypa^uoviruirutp occurs Quivi era historiata I'alta glorU 

in an Inscription published by Du Cange, d^i Roman Prince. 

Dissertat Jolnv xxvii. p. 819. where 'i^optafrequentlyoccurs, simply for pic 

^vaiar^p implies an artist who pamted ^^^ ^^ representation in coleuri MUua 

in mosuc work «Jled Aiovjjtcov, or ^ov^ ^onach. lib. iv. Epist 61. Kai loropw. 

^«,v, Mnstmm. In the Greek poem be- ^rnvu,^ icai ipwJi-^ icat pXa^miuiTi^v. 

fore us Icrropirof is used for a Painter, « picture, of birds. serpenuT and 

lib. ii 

6 'laropirat. 

plants." And in a thousand other in- 
Bk Ttiv wapoveav ruiv (o»if i/ oXefroiKeiv stances. ' L. vii. 


D anzando giouenette uidde e done 

Q ual da se belle : e qual de habito adorno 

D iscinte e schalze in giube e in gone 

£ in cio sol dispendeano il giomo 

P oi sopra el tempio uidde uolitare 

P assere molte e columbi rigiare 

E alentrata del tempio uicina 

V idde che si sedeua piana mente 

M adona pace : e in mGuio una cortina 
N anzi la porta tenea lieue mente 
A presso lei in uista assai tapina 
P acientia'sedea discreta mente 
P allida ne lo aspecto : e dogni parte 
£ intorno alei uidde promesse e carte 

P oi dentro al tempio entrata di sospiri 

V i send un tumulto che giraua 
F ochoso tutto di caldi desiri 
Q uesto glialtri tutti aluminaua 
D i none fiame nate di martiri 

D i qua ciaschun di lagrime grondaua 
M osse da una dona cruda e ria 
C he uidde li chiamata gilosia, &c. 

Some of these stanzas are thus expr^sed in the Greco-barbarous 

Ets rovToy tide rov deov, top olkov top fieyaXou, 

awapfiara iroXXa (rxXripaf Kriafieyos rjroy oXos, 
'O XoKafiirpos yap lyrovaiy eXa/xxev kts rov iiXiov^ 

oray 6 ifXios cKpove, affrpairrey ^9 rov 0eyyov. 
*0 roxos 6\os ekafixeyf einniy Xa/xgrpori/rarroi;^ 

ro efiwuTov hXoffi^ripoyf xai ra arevuffiaTaTov, 
Airo dtafiayrri tropretnoVi tfaay Kai ra KOptfuaf 

(yri^epofievais Sviara, iLirawaaay fiepia, 

KoXoyait ritray aidrfptSy iroXXa xovrpes fieyaXauy 

airaya^TOvs tfiaareyay^ oXoy rov oiKoy K€iyoy* 
Ejcei^e Tuy fiovpKOTriTay, Toy Xoyiaytoy eiceiKWF, 

owoKTTiy Topray fiyeyaaiy aypoi Kai Ovfiofieyoim 
Kai rrfy rw^Xri riiy hfiapTiav jcac to ovai Kai o\ou 

€K€nr€ et^ivoyTfitrayy OfWioy tray Kai t aWa. 
Kai rais opyais eaKcvdriKey, KOKiyau its ^ayria. 

Toy tpofioy eiie XoxXofioy^ exeiae vfiiay fiepia. 

^ From which it was thought proper to is intelligible only to a very few curious 
give no larger specimen, as the language scholars. 

SECT. Xlt.] 



Mcra Kouf^a ra vi^epa, eiZe irifitiyeptrtais^ 

Kai rats ^aXaiais Trovytyoyrai, nai fioia(ovv iiKaioaovves* 
Eicetrov avvinfi^atnay fierais ^ia<^yiaiSy 

ejSao'a eis to \eprjfniSy ailepa fiarofieya* 
'OXof 6 TOTTos €dei\v€9 aypiosi0cai ypXiafffieyos^ 

ayptovs yap ifHifiepifffjovSy KiwfioTaTriy fiaXeay, 
Meira roy rowoy rovroycy ^ xopija rvxc/icvj|, 

CKaOeroy b icoKpeicey ya evtu xaiFC/ieyiy.* , 

In passing through Chancers hands, this poem has received many 
new beauties. Not only those capital fictions and descriptions, the 
temples of Mars, Venus, and Diana, with their allegorical paintings, 
and the figures of Lycurgus and Emetrius with their retinue, and so 
much heightened by the bold and spirited manner of the British bard, 
as to strike us with an air of originality*. In the mean time it is to be 
remarked, that as Chaucer in some places has thrown in strokes of his 
own, so in others he has contracted the uninteresting and tedious pro- 

' L. ril Sign, /a g. 

* [Boccacio's situations and incidents, 
respecting the loTers, are often inartifi- 
cial and unaffecting. In the Italian poet, 
Emilia walking in the garden and singing, 
is seen and heard first by Arcite, who im- 
mediately calls Palamon. They are both 
equally, and at the same point of timoy 
captiTated with her beauty ; yet without 
any expressions of jealousy, or appearance 
of rivalry. But in Chaucer's management 
of the commencement of this amour, Pa- 
.lamon by seeing Emilia first, acquires an 
advantage over Arcite, which ultimately 
renders the catastrophe more agreeable to 
poetical justice. It is an unnatural and 
unanimated picture which Boccacio pre- 
sents, of the two young princes violently 
enamoured of the same object, and still 
remaining in a state of amity. In Chau- 
cer, the quarrel between the two friends, 
the foundation of all the future beautiful 
distress of the piece, commences at this 
moment, and causes a conversation full of 
mutual rage and resentment This ra- 
pid transition from a friendship cement- 
ed by every tie, to the most implacable 
hostility, is on this occasion not only 
highly natural, but produces a sudden 
and unexpected change of circumstances, 
which enlivens the detail, and is always 
interesting. Even afterwards, when Ar- 
cite is released from the prison by Peri- 
thous, he embraces Palamon at parting. 
And in the fifth book of the Theseide, 
when Palamon goes armed to the grove 
in search of Arcite, whom he finds sleep- 
ing, they meet on terms of much civility 
and friendship, and in all the mechanical 

formality of the manners of romance. In 
Chaucer, this dialogue has a very different 
cast Palamon, at seeing Arcite, feels a 
colde iwerde glide throughout his heart : 
he starts from his ambuscade, and in- 
stantly salutes Arcite with the appellation 
fit false traitour. And although Boccacio 
has merit in discriminating the characters 
of the two princes, by giving Palamon the 
impetuosity of Achilles, and Arcite the 
mildness of Hector ; yet Arcite by Boc- 
cacio is here injudiciously represented as 
too moderate and pacific In Chaucer he 
returns the salute with the same degree 
of indignation, draws his sword, and de- 
fies Palamon to single combat. So lan- 
guid is Boccacio's plan of this amour, 
that Palamon does not begin to be jealous 
of Arcite, till he is informed in the prison, 
that Arcite lived as a favourite servant 
with Theseus in disguise, yet known to 
Emilia. When the lovers see Emilia from 
the window of their tower, she is supposed 
by Boccacio to observe them, and not to 
be displeased at their signs of admiration. 
This circumstance is justly omitted by 
Chaucer, as quite unnecessary ; and not 
tending either to promote the present bu- 
siness, or to operate in any distant con- 
sequences. On the whole, Chaucer has 
eminently shewn his good sense and 
judgement in rejecting the superfluities, 
and improving the general arrangement of 
the story. He frequently corrects or softens 
Boccacio's false manners : and it is with 
singular address he has often abridged 
the Italian poet's ostentatious and pedan- 
tic parade of antient history and mytho- 
logy. — Additions.] 

140 knight's tale. [sbct. xii, 

lixity of narrative, which he found in the Italian poet And that he 
might avoid a servile imitation, and indulge himself as he pleased in an 
arbitrary departure from the original, it appears that he neglected the 
embarrassment of Boocacio's stanza, and preferred' the English heroic 
couplet, of which this poem affords the first conspicuous example extant 
in our language. 

The situation and structure of the temple of Mars are thus described. 

A forest 

In which ther wonneth neyther man ne best : 

With knotty knarry barrein trees old. 

Of stubbes sharpe, and hidous to behold. 

In which ther ran a romble and a swough^ 

As though a storme shuld bersten every bough. 

And dounward from an hill, under a bent^ 

Ther stood the temple of Mars armipotent, 

Wrought all of burned*' stele : of which th* entree 

Was longe, and streite, and gastly for to see : 

And therout came a rage and swiche a vise** 

That it made all the gates for to rise^ 

The northern light in at the dore shone. 

For window on the wall ne was ther none, 

Thurgh which men mighten any light disceme. 

The dore was all of athamant eteme, 

Yclenched overthwart and endelong. 

With yren tough, and for to make it strong. ' 

Every piler the temple to sustene 

Was tonn^-grete^ of yren bright and shene. 

The gloomy sanctuary of this tremendous fane was adorned with 
these characteristical imageries. 

Ther saw I first the derke imagining 

Of Felonie, and alle the compassing : 

The cruel Ird, red as any glede*. 

The Pikepurse, and eke the pale Drede^ ; 

The Smiler with the knif under the cloke' : 

The shepen brenning with the blakd smoke*^; 

A sound. ^ fear. 

*» precipice [declivity]. * Dryden lias converted this image into 

« burnished. clerical hypocrisy, under which he takes 

'noise. [Perhaps we should read re««, an opportunity of gratifying his spleen 

a Saxon word signifying violence, impe- against the clergy. Knight's Tale, B. ii. 

tuosity. If this correction be admitted, p. 56. edit 1713 : 

we must also read in the next line rese w— ♦ * j u • v r , t 

for rise, with MS. A.-TyRWHiTT.] ?"* •*??,^ Hyjwcnsy with *o/y leer, 

• " it strained the doors : almost forced |oft-8miling and demurely looking down, 
them from their hinges." ^"* ***** ^^« ^*«K«' underneath thegown. 

' a great tun ; a tun- weight k Perhaps for thepyn we should read 

* coaL chepyn, or eheping, i. e. a town, a place 

SECT. XIL] knight's TALB. 

The Treson of the mordring in the bedded 
The open Werre with wound«8 all bebledde ; 
Conteke" with bloody knif °, and sharp Manace, 
All full of chirking^ was that sory place ! 
The sleer of himself yet saw I there, 
Hb herte-blood hath bathed all his here, 
The naile ydriven in the abode on hight, 
The colde deth, with mouth gaping upright'. 
Amiddes of the temple sate Mischance, 
With discomfort, and sory countenance. 
Yet saw I Woodnesse" laughing in his rage. 
Armed complaint, outhees, and fiers Outrage ; 
The carraine in the bush, with throte ycorven S 
A thousand slain, and not of qualme ystorven". 
The tirant, with the prey by force yraft, 
The toun destroied, there was nothing laft, 
Yet saw I brent the shippes hoppesteres*, 
The hunte^ ystrangled with the wilde beres, 


of trade. This line is therefore to repre- 
sent, A City on fire. In Wickliffe's Bible 
we have, "It is lyk to children sittynge 
in Chepynoe.*' Matt. xi. 16. [The 
stable, from the Sax. scypen, which signi- 
fies the same tiling. — Tyrwhitt.] 
^ Dryden has lowered this image, 

Th' assassinating wife. 

■ strife. 

" This image is likewise entirely mis- 
represented by Dryden, and turned to a 
satire on the Church. 

Contest with sliarpen'd knives in cloy- 

tteri drawn, 
And all with blood bespread the holy 


^ Any disagreeable noise, or hollow mur- 
mur. Properly, the jarring of a door u pon 
the hinges. See also Chaucer's Boeth. 
p. 364 b. Urr. edit "When the felde 
chirkinge agrisethe of the colde, by the 
fellnesse of the wind Aquilon.'* The ori- 
ginal is, " Vento Campus inhomiit." 

' This couplet refers to the suicide in 
the preceding one; who is supposed to 
kill himself by driving a nail into his head 
[in the night], and to be found dead and 
cold in his bed, with his "mouth gapyng 
npryght" This is properly the meaning 
of his "hsur being bathed in blood." 
Shade, in the text, is literally a bush of 
hair, Dryden has finely paraphrased this 
passage. [The old printed text, on which 
Warton's paraphrase is founded, read, 
"in the shode anyght."— Price.] 

' madness. 

* throat cut. 

" "slain, — not destroyed by sickness or 
dying a natural death." 

* [It is needless to trouble the reader 
with the various readings and interpreta- 
tions of this passage. To hoppe, in Saxon 
(though with us it has acquired a ludi- 
crous sense), and the termination ttre or 
tter, was used to denote a female, like 
trix in Latin. As therefore a female baker 
was called a bakester, a female brewer 
a brewester, a female webbe or weaver a 
webbester, so I conceive a female hopper 
ot dancer was called a hoppester. It is 
well known that a ship in most languages 
is considered as a female .... Though the 
idea of a ship dancing on the waves be 
not an unpoetical one, the adjunct hoppe- 
steres does not seem so proper in this place 
as the bellairiei of the Theseida, 1. vii. 

Vedevi ancor le navi bellairiei 
In voti carri e li volti guastatl. 

This note has been given to justify the 
adoption of Mr. Tyrwhitt's reading. It is 
to be regretted that this distinguished 
critic thought it right to withhold the 
" various readings of this passage," since 
few could have been more obscure or 
apparently more incongruous than the 
one upon which his election has fallen. 
The obvious meaning of " shippes hoppe^ 
steres," (admitting Mr. Tyrwhitt's etymo- 
logy to be correct,) is the dancers of the 
ship ; for to interpret it ships, dancerst quasi 

142 knight's TALB. [sBCT. XII. 

The sow freting* the ohild right in the cradel, 
The cokee yscalled, for all his long ladel. 
Nought was foryete by th' infortune of Marte; 
The carter* overridden by his carte ', 
Under the wheel full low he lay adoun. 
Ther were also of Martes division, 
The Armerer, and the Bowyer, and the Smith 
That forgeth sharpe swerdeson his stith*. 
And all above, depeinted in a tour, 
Saw I Conquest sitting in gret honour, 
With thilke sharpe swerd over his hed, 
Y-hanging by a subtil twined thred.* 

This groupe is the effort of a strong imagination, unacquainted with 
selection and arrangement of images. It b rudely thrown on the can- 
vas without order or art. In the Italian poets, who describe every 
thing, and who cannot, even in the most serious representations, easily 
suppress their natural predilection for burlesque and familiar imagery, 
nothing is more common than this mixture of sublime and comic ideas ^. 
The form of Mars follows, touched witli the impetuous dashes of a sa- 
vage and spirited pencil. 

The statue^ of Mars upon a carte** stood, 
Armed, and loked grim as he were wood^ 

tk€ dancing ships, would not only 'be * v. 1998. p. 16. Urr. 

against all analogy, but leaves the sense ^ There are many other instances of 

and the sentence incomplete. The old this mixture, v. 1179. ** We strive as did 

reading "shippes upon steris" is not the houndisfor thebone." v. 1264. *<We 

without its difficulties, and if correct fare as he that dronk is as a mouse," &c 

might perhaps be interpreted ** ships upon 7.2762. *' Farewel physick ! Go here 

steyeres," or as we nuw should say, ships the corse to church." v. 2521. ''Some 

upon the stocks. But it is idle to offer said he lokid grim and he wolde fight," 

conjectures upon a text which may rest &c 

upon no better authority than the whim « form, or figure. Statuary is not im- 

of an indolent transcriber, or the mistake plied here. Thus he mentions the statue 

of a printer's compositor. An inspection of of Mars on a banner, supr. v. 977. I can- 

the manuscripts can alone decide the pr6- not forbear adding in this place these fine 

ference due to one reading over anoUier, verses of Mars arming himself in haste, 

and this must be left to some ftiture editor from our author's Complaint of Mars and 

of the Canterbury Tales. The context, Venus, v. 99. 

however, would lead one to believe that « *i. '^u u* u i— ru ^ i u* 

Chaucer intended to heighten hi. imagery "'f'T'* »" !"" Jf*"' »"■"«* r'S*;?' 

by a .trong uxdtheri., <^d to paint a fleet *°* 8^ """ "* »"' •'"»^' ""* '» •"* 

t:r1trg^trn\SV:j!rveft?a: «». -.i^ly a. h ,„t to 

•a" h^ToAt ^iutrSK'S'^ H« •»»«* -• *»' '* •>-««» '» -"«»«• 

^ [the huntsman ; from the Saxon Here we see the force of description with- 

hunta. — Tyrwhitt.] out a profusion of idle epithets. These 

* devouring. verses are all sinew: they have nothing 

* charioteer. but verbs and substantives. 
^ chariot <> chariot 

* anvil. • mad. 

SECT. XII.] knight's TALE. 14S 

A wolf ther stood be/orne him at his fete 
With eyen red, and of a man he ete. 
With subtil pensil peinted was this stone. 
In redouting' of Mars and of his glorie.' 

But the ground-work of this whole description b in the Thebaid of 
Statius. I will make no apology for transcribing the passage at large, 
that the reader may judge of the resemblance. Mercury visits the 
temple of Mars, situated in the frozen and tempestuous regions of 

Hie steriles delubra notat Mavortia sylvas, 
Horrescitque tuens : ubi mille furoribus iUi 
Cingitur, adverso domus immansueta sub ^mo. 
Ferrea compago laterum, ferro arcta teruntur 
Limina, ferratis incumbunt tecta columnis. 
Laeditur adversum Phcebi jubar, ipsaque sedem 
Lux timet, et dims contristat sydera fulgor. 
Digna loco statio. Primis subit Impetus amens 
£ foribus, caecumque Nefas, Irseque rubentes, 
Exanguesque Metus ; occultisque ensibus astant 
InsidisB, geminumque tenens Discordia ferrum. 
Innumerb strepit aula minis. Tristissima Virtus 
Stat medio, laetusque Furor, vultuque cruento 
Mors armata sedet. Bellorum solus in arb 
Sangub, et incensb qui raptus ab urbibus ignis. 
Terrarum exuviae circum, et fastigia templi 
Captae insignibant gentes, coelataque ferro 
Fragmina portarum, bellatricesque carinas, 
£t vacui currus, protritaque curribus ora.^ 
Statins was a favourite writer with the poets of the middle ages. His 
bloated magnificence of description, gigantic images, and pompous dic- 
tion, suited their taste, and were somewhat of a piece with the romances 


' recording, [revsrence, T.] A sacrifice is copied from Statius, where. 

■ ▼. 2043. says Chaucer, v. 2296. 

In \^^xT\ ^r^r* '**'Vo?y ''"''^** A»d did her thingis as men might behold 
in the introductory lines, y. 1981. . \r, Stace f^ TheUs. 

^\ k.^k! !r*" ""f ^'T grisly place , ^^^.^ g^^.^^ j^ .^^ j„ ^ ^.^., ^ 

That hight the grtU Umpk of Man m ^^^^ ^^^ introduction of this poem is 

- .vii/ 1?* Ar . • also taken from the Thebaid, xii. 545. 481. 

In thilke cold and frosty region, ^^^ Compare Chaucer's lines, v. 870 seq. 

Ther as Mars has his sovran mansion. ^ g^^ ^^^^ ggg 3^q The funeral pyre 

* Stat Theb. vii. 40. And below we have of Arcite is also translated from Theb. vi. 

Chaucer's Doors of adamant eterne, viz. 195 seq. See Ch. v. 2940 seq. 1 likewise 

T. 68. take this opportunity of observing, that 

^, , . ^.» : Lucretius and Plato are imitated in this 

i;^ue3I 1"^- P-™? togetherwithmanypassagesfrom 

Disailuere fores. — — Ovid and Virgil. 

Statius also calls Mars, Armipotens, v. 78. 



[SBCT. xir. 

they BO much admired. They neglected the gentler and genuine graces 
of Virgil, which they could not relish. His pictures were too correctly 
and chastely drawn to take their fancies : and truth of design, elegance 
of expression, and the arts of composition were not their objects'^. In 
the mean time we must observe, that in Chaucer*s Temple of Mars many 
personages are added ; and that those which existed before in Statius 
have been retouched, enlarged, and rendered more distinct and pictu- 
resque by Boccacio and Chaucer. Arcite's address to Mars, at enter- 
ing the temple, has great dignity, and is not copied from Statius. 

O strong^ god, that in the regnes cold 
Of Trace honoured art, and lord yhold I 
And hast in every regne, and every lond, 
Of armes al the bridel in thin hond ; 
And hem fortunbt, as thee list devise. 
Accept of me my pitous sacrifise^ 

The following portrait of Lycurgus, an imaginary king of Thrace, is 
highly charged, and very great in the gothic style of painting. 

^ In Troilusand Cresside he has trans- 
lated the arguments of the twelve books of 
the Thebaid of Statius. See B. ▼. p. 1479 

[But to be more particular as to these 

Ver. 900. p. 8. Urr. edit. 
A company of ladys twey and twey, &c. 

Thus Theseus, at his return in triumph 
from conquering Scythia, is accosted by 
the dames of Thebes, Sut Theb. zil 519. 

Jamque domos patrias, ScythicsB post 

aspera gentis 
Prsella, laurigero subeuntem Thesea curru 
Lstifici plausus, &c. &c 
Paulum et ab insessis moestse Pelopeides 

Promovere gradum, seriemque et dona 

Miranttu*, victique animo rediere mariti. 
Atque ubi tardavit currus, et ab axe su- 

Explorat causas victor, poscitque benigna 
Aure preces; orsa ante alias Capaneia con- 

Belliger ^gide, &c. 

Chaucer here copies Statius, (v. 861-966.) 
Kn. T. from v. 519. to v. 600. Theb. See 
also ibid. 465 seq. 

V. 930. p. 9. 
Here in the Temple of the goddess Cle- 
mence, &c. 

Statius mentions the temple of Clemency 

as the asylum where these ladles were as- 
sembled, Theb. xii. 481. 

Urbe fuit media, nulli concessa potentum 
Ara deum, mitis posuit Clementia sedem, 

V. 2947. 
Ne what jewillis men into, the fire cast, 

Literally from Statius, Theb. vi. 206. 

Ditantur flammse, non unquam opulentior 


Ante dnis ; crepitant gemmae, &c. 

But the whole of Arcite's funeral is nU- 
nutely copied from Statius. More than 
a hundred parallel lines on this subject 
might be produced from each poet In 
Statius the account of the trees felled for 
the pyre, with the consternation of the 
Nymphs, takes up more than twenty-four 
lines. V. 84-116. In Chaucer about thir- 
teen, V. 2922-2937. In Boccacio, six stan- 
zas. B. xi. Of the three poets, Sutius is 
most reprehensible, the first auUior of this 
ill-placed and unnecessary description, and 
who did not live in a Gothic age. The sta- 
tues of Mars and Venus I imagined had 
been copied from Pulgentius, Boccacio's 
favorite mythographer. But Pulgentius 
says nothing of Mars : and of Venus, that 
she only stood in the sea on a couch, at- 
tended by the Graces. It is from Statius 
that Theseus became a hero of romance. 
' V. 2375. 

sscT . XII.] knight's talb. 145 

Ther maist thou se, coming with Plalamon, 

Lycurge himself, the grete king of Trace ; 

Blake was his berde, and manly was his face : 

The cercles of his eyen in his hed 

They gloweden betwixten yahre and red : 

And like a griffon loked he about. 

With kemped heres on his browes stout : 

His limmes gret, his braunes hard and stronge. 

His shouldres brode, his armes round and longe. 

And as the guise was in his contree 

Ful highe upon a char of gold stood he : 

With foure white boUes in the trais. 

Instead of cote-armure, on his harnais 

With nayles yelwe, and bright as any gold, 

He hadde a beres° skin cole-blake for old. 

His longe here was kempt behind his bak, 

As any ravenes fetherit shone for blake. 

A wreth of gold armgrete^ of hug^ weight, 

Upon his hed sate full of stones bright. 

Of fine rubins, and of diamants. 

About his char ther wenten white alaunsP, 

Twenty and mo, as gret as any stere, 

To hunten at the leon or the dere ; 

And folwed him with moseM fast ybound, 

Colered with gold' and torretes" filed ^ round. 

A hundred lordes had he in his route, 

Armed full wel, with hertes steme and stoute." 

* a bear's. ' In Hawe8*< Pastime of Pleaatire, [writ- 
** as big aa your arm. ten temp. Hen. VII.] Fame is attended with 
' greyhounds. A favourite species of two greyhounds ; on whose golden collars 

dogs in the middle ages. In the antient Grace and Govemaunce are inscribed in 
pipe-roUsy payments are frequently made diamond letters. See next note, 
in greyhounds. Rot. Pip. an. 4. Reg. Jo- ' rings ; the fastening of dogs' collars, 
hann. [A.D. 1203.] *' Rog. ConsUbul. Ces- They are often mentioned in the Inven- 
trie debet D. Marcos, et X. palfridos et X. tory of furniture, in the royal palaces of 
lausas Leporariorvm pro habenda terra Vi- Henry the Eighthyabove-cited. MSS.HarL 
donis de Loverell de quibus debet reddere 1419. In the Ctutle of Windsor. Article 
per ann. c. M.*' Ten leashes of greyhounds. Collars, f. 409. " Two greyhoundes col- 
Rot Pip. an. 9. Reg. Johann. [A.D. 1208.] lars of crimsun veWett and cloth of gold, 
••SuTHANT. Johan. Teingre debet c. M. et lacking torreites:* — " Two other collars 
X. Uporarios magnos, pulchros^ et bonoSf with the kinges armes, and at the ende 
de redemtione sua," &c. Rot. Pip. an. 11 . portcullis and rose." — ** Item, a collar em- 
Reg. Johan. [A.D. 1210.] "EvERVEYc- brawdered with pomegranates and rotes 
SIRE. Rog. de Mallyell redd. comp. de I. with turrets of silver and g^lt" — "A col- 
palefrido velociter currente, et II. Laisiis lar garnished with stole-worko with one 
leporariorum pro habendis Uteris depreca- shallop shelle of silver and gilte, with tor'. 
toriis ad Matildam de M." I could give a rettes and pendauntes of silver and guilte." 
thousand other instances of the sort. [^2a- — "A collar of white velvette, embraw- 
no is the Spanish name of aspecies of dog dered with perles, the swivels of silver." 
which the dictionaries caU a mastiff. — ^ filed ; highly polished. 
Ty«whitt.] " V, 2129. 

* muisle. 


146 knight's tale. [sect. xii. 

The figure of Emetrius king of India, who comes to the aid of Ar- 
cite, is not inferior in the same style, with a mixture of grace. 

With Arcita, in stories as men find, 

The gret Emetrius, the king of Inde, 

Upon a sted^ bay, trapped in stele, 

Covered with cloth of gold diapred^ wele, 

Came riding like the god of armes Mars : 

His cote-armure was of a cloth of Tars% 

Couched with perles, white, and round and grete ; 

Hb sadel was of brent^ gold new ybete, 

A mantelet upon his shouldres hanging, 

Bretfull* of rubies red, as fire sparkling. 

His crispd here like ringes* was yronne. 

And that was yelwe, and glitered as the sonne. 

Hb nose was high, his eyen bright dtrin^ 

His lippes round, his colour was sanguin. 

And a fewe fraknes in hb face ysprentS 

Betwixen yelwe and blake somdele ymeint*'. 

And as a leon he hb loking ca8te^ 

Of five and twenty yere his age I caste. 

Hb herd was well begonnen foe to spring, 

Hb vob was as a trompe thondiring. 

Upon his hed he wered, of laurer grene 

A gerlond freshe, and lusty for to sene. 

Upon hb bond he bare for his deduit 

An egle tame, as any lily white 'I 

An hundred lordes had he with him there. 

All armed, save hir hedes, in aU hir gere'. 

About thb king ther ran on every part 

Full many a tame leon, and leopart.^ 

The banner of Mars dbplayed by Theseus, b sublimely conceived.- 

The red statue of Mars, with spere and targe. 
So shineth in his white banner large 
That al the feldes gliteren up and doun.* 

* See this word explained above, vol. i. supr. It often occurs in the wardrobe- 
p. 177. accounts for furnishing tournaments. Du 

* Noi of Tanus In Cilida. It is rather Cange says, that this was a fine cloth ma- 
sn abbreviation for Tartann,or Tartarium, nuibctured in Tartary. Gloss. Tartarium, 
See Chaucer's Flowre and Leafe, v. 21 2. But Skinner in V. derives it from Tortona 
Oneverytrumpehan^ngabrodebannere i" the Milanese. Hecit«iStat4Hen.VIII. 
Of fine Tartarium full richely bete. ^ J*-^^^^^ burnished. 

That it was a costly stuff appears from * quite full. * rings. 

hence I — '*Et ad faciendum unum Jupoun ^ lemon-colour. Lat Citrimu, 

de Tartaryn bju pouderat cum garteriis ° sprinkled. 

blu paratis cum boudes et pendants de ' "a mixture of black and yellow." 

argento deaurato." Comp. J. Coke Provi- * cast, darted. ' See vol. i. p. 169. 

loris Magn. Oardarob. temp. Edw. III. ut ■ armour. ^ v. 2157. * ▼. 977. 

SECT. XII.] knight's TALE. 14? 

This poetn has many strokes of pathetio description, of which these 
specimens may be selected. 

Upon that other side Pdamon 
Whan that he wist Arcita was ygon, 
Swiche sorwe he maketh> that the grete tour 
Resouned of his yelling and clamour : 
The pure fetters on his shinnes grete 
Were of his bitter salte teres wete.^ 

Arcite is thus described) after his return to Thebes^ where he de- 
spairs of seeing Emilia again. 

His slepe, his mete, his drinke, is him by raft; 
That lene he wex, and drie as is a shaft : 
His eyen holwe, and grisly to behold 
His hewe falwe, and pale as ashen' cold : 
And solitary he was, and ever alone, 
. And wailing all the night, making his mone. 
And if he herdd song or instrument, 
Than wold he wepe, he mighte not be stent'". 
So feble were his spirites and so low, 
And changed so, that no man coude know 
His speche, ne his vois, though men it herd.'' 

Rilamon is thus introduced in the procession of his rival Arcite's fu- 

Tho came this woful Theban Palamon 
With flotery^ bejrd, and ruggy ashy heres. 
In clothes bhike ydropped all with teres, 
And, (passing over of weping Emelie,) 
Was reufuUeat of all the compagnie.' 

To which may be added the surprise of Palamon, concealed in the 
forest, at hearing the disguised Arcite, whom he supposes to be the 
squire of Theseus, discover himself at the mention of the name of 

^Thrughout his herte 

He felt a colde swerd sodenly glide : 

For ire he quoke, no lenger wolde he hide. 

And whan that he had herd Arcites tale. 

As he were wood, with face ded and pale, 

He sterte him up out of the bushes thikke, ^c.** 

A description of the morning must not be omitted ; which vies, both 
in sentiment and expression, with the most finished modem poetical 

*^ ▼. 1377. 1 ashet. bt^g^ata) may be said to flote upon the air. 

• stayed. " ▼. 1363. — Ttrwhitt.] 

** squallid. [Flotery seems literally to ' v.,2884. ^ ▼. 1575. 
mean floating; as hair dlfhevelled (ra- 

L 2 

148 knight's tale. [sect. xii. 

landscape, and finely displays our author's talent at delineating the 
beauties of nature. 

The besy larke, messager of day, 
Saleweth ' in hire song the mon^e gray ; 
And firy Phebus riseth up so bright, 
That all the orient laugheth of the sight': 
And with his stremes drieth in the greves* 
The silver dropes hanging on the.leves." 

Nor must the figure of the blooming Emilia, the most beautiful ob- 
ject of this vernal picture, pass unnoticed. 

Emelie, that fayrer was to sene 

Than is the lilie upon his stalke grene ; 
And fresher than the May with floures newe, 
(For with the rose colour strof hire hewe).^ 

In other parts of his works he has painted morning scenes con amore : 
and his imagination seems to have been peculiarly struck with the 
charms of a rural prospect at sun-rising. 

We are surprised to find, in a poet 'of such antiquity, numbers so 
nervous and .flowing: a circumstance which greatly contributed to ren- 
der Dryden's paraphrase of this poem the most animated and harmo- 
nious piece of versification in the English language. I cannot leave the 
Knight's Tale without remarking, that the inventor of this poem ap- 
pears to have possessed considerable talents for the artificial construc- 
tion of a story. It exhibits unexpected and striking turns of fortune ; 
and abounds in those incidents which are calculated to strike the fancy 
by opening resources to sublime description, or interest the heart by 
pathetic situations. On this account, even without considering the 
poetical and exterior ornaments of the piece, we are hardly disgusted 
with the mixture of manners, the confusion of times, and the like vio- 
lations of propriety, which this poem, in common with all- others of its 
age, presents in almost every page. The action is supposed to have 
happened soon after the marriage of Theseus with Hippolita, and the 
death of Creon in the siege of Thebes : but we are soon transported 
into more recent periods. Sunday* the celebration of matins, judicial 
astrology, heraldry, tilts and tournaments, knights of England, and tar- 
gets of Prussia', occur in the city of Athens under the reign of Theseus. 

' salutetb. instructs lu to reject thU emendation. — 

' See Dante, Purgat. c. i.'p. 234. Additions.] 

[For Orienif perhaps Oritount, or the '^ groves, buahes. " v. 1493. 

horuont is the true reading. So the edi- * v. 1037. 

tion orChaucerinl561. So also the bar- 'The knights of Che Teutonic order 

barous Greek poem on this story, '0 Ov- were settled in Prussia, before 1300. See 

pavos 6\oe ysXa. Dryden seems to have also Ch. ProL v. 53 ; where tDtUrniunetfts 

read, or to have made out of this mis* in Prussia are mentioned. Ardte quotes 

spelling of Horison, Orient. — The ear a Table from jEsop, v. 1179. 



T%e suhfect of Chaucer continued. His Romaunt of the Rose, WiUiatn 
of Lorris and John of Mean, Specimens of the French Le Roman 
de la Rose, Improved hy Chaucer, William of Lorris excels in al' 

kgoruxd personages, Petrarch diglihes this poem, 

./^ ^ 

) Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose u translated from a French poem 
"^ entitled Le Roman de la Rose. It was begun by William of Lorris^ 
a student in jurisprudence, who died about the year 1260^ Being left . 
unfinished, it was completed by John of Meun, a native of a little town 
of that name, situated on the river Loire near Orleans, who seems to 
have flourished about the year 1810^./ This poem is esteemed by the 
French the most valuable piece of their old poetry. It is far beyond 
the rude efforts of all their preceding romancers : and they have nothing 
equal to it before the reign of Francis the First, who died in the year 
1547. But thgre is a considerable difference in the merit of the two 
authors. William of Lorris, who wrote not one quarter of the poem, is 
remarkable for his elegance and luxuriance of description, and is a beau- 
tiful painter of allegorical personages. John of Meun is a writer of' 
another cast. He possesses but little of his predecessor's inventive and 
pcjetical vein ; and in that respect was not properly qualified to finish a 
poem begun by William of Lorris. But he has strong satire, and great 
liveliness^. He was one of the wits of the court of Charles le Bel. 

The difficulties and dangers of a lover, in pursuing and obtaining 
the object of his desires, are the literal argument of this poem. This 
design is couched under the allegory of a Rose, which our lover after 
frequent obstacles gathers in a delicious garden. He traverses vast 
ditches, scales lofty walls, and forces the gates of adapmntine and al- 
most impregnable castles. These enchanted fortresses are all inhabited 
by various divinities ; some of which assist, and some oppose, the lover s 

Chaucer has luckily translated all that was written by William of 

* Fauchet, p. 198. to religion. The Rose is proved to be a 

^ Id. ibid. p. 200. He also translated state of grace, or divine wisdom, or eter-. 

Boetbius De ConsoUtione, and Abelard's nal beatitude, or the Holy Virgin to which 

Letters, and wrote Answers of the Sybills, heretics cannot gain access. It is the 

&c. white Rose of Jericho, Quail plantatio 

^ The poem consists of 22734 verses. Mosa in Jericho, &c. &c. The chemists, 

William of Lorrts's part ends with v. 4149. in the mean time, made it a search for the 

viz. • Philosopher's Stone; and other proles- 

k ««.. «..« Sa «*» r«««« A^m^^^r.i» sloxiBf With Uboured commentaries, ex- 

A peu que le ne m en desespoir. ^i«: ' j •.. • . ^u • . . 

*^ ^ J r plained it into their own respecUve sci- 

' In the prefiice of the edition printed ences. 

in the year 1 538, all this allegory is turned 


Lorris*: he gives only part of the continuation of John of Meun'^. How 
far he has improved on the French original, the reader shall judge. I 
will exhibit passages selected from both poems ; respectively placing 
the French under the English, for the convenience of comparison. The 
renovation of nature in the month of May b thus described. 

That it was May, thus dremed me>, 
In time of love and jollite, 

* See Ocdeve's Letter of Cupide, writ- 
ten 1 402. Urry's Chaucer, p. 586. ▼. 288. 
who calls John of Moon the author of the 
Romaunt of the Rote. 

' Chaucer's poem oonsisto of 7699 ver- 
ses; and ends with thb verse of the origi- 
nal, vis. V. 18105. 

Vous aurei absolutioo. 

But Chaucer has made several omissions 
In John of Meun's part, before he comes 
to this period. He hai translated all Wil- 
liam of Lorris's part, as I have observed ; 
and his translation of that part ends with 
V. 4432. vis. 

Than shuldin I &llin in wanhope. 

Chaucer's cotemporaries called his Romant 
of the Rose, a translation, Lydgate says 
that Chaucer 

■ Notably did his businesse 
By grete avyse his wittes to dispose, 
To tran$lat€ the Romans op tue Rose. 

Prol. Boch. St. vi. It is manifest that 
Chaucer took no pains to disguise his 
translation. He literally follows the 
French, in saying, that a river was "lesse 
than Sttitu," i. e. the Seine at Paris, v. 
118. " No wight in all Paris." v. 7157. 
A grove has more birds ** than ben in all 
the relme otFraunee," v. 495. He caUs 
a pine, "A tree in France men call a pine." 
V. 1457. He says of rotes, ** so fiure 
werin never in Rone,*' v. 1674. *< That 
Cor Paris ne for Parie." ▼. 1654. He has 
sometimes reference to French ideas, or 
words, not in the original. As " Men 
elepin hem Sereins in France." v. 684. 
" From Jerusalem to Burgoine." v. 554. 
"Greinde Paris." V. 1369. Where Skin- 
ner says, Parit is contracted for ParadUe. 
In mentioning minstrells and juglers, he 
says, that some of them " Songin songes 
of Uraine." v. 776. He adds. 
For in Loraine there notis be 
Full swetir than in thit centre. 

There is not a syllable of these songs, and 
singers, of Loraine, in the French. By 
the way, I suspect that Chancer translated 
this poem while he was at Paris. There 
are also many allusiotit to English affairs, 
which I suspected to be Chaucer's ; but 

they are all in the French original. Such 
as ** Hompipis of ComevaUe." v. 4250. 
These are called in the original, ** Chale- 
meaux de Comouaille."v. 3991. A knight 
is introduced, allied to king *<Arthour of 
Bretaigne." v. 1199. who is called, <*Bon 
roy Artus de Bretaigne.'' Orig. v. 1187. 
Sir Gawin, and Sir Kay, two of Arthur's 
knights, are characterised, v. 2206. seq. 
See Orig. v. 2124. where the word Keuix 
is corrupt for Kele. But there is one pai- 
sage, in which he mentions a Baehelere as 
fair as ** The Lordis sonne of Windisore." 
V. 1250. This is added by Chaucer, and 
intended as a compliment to some of hit 
patrons. In die Legende of good Women, 
Cupid says to Chaucer, v. 329. 

For in plain text, withoutin nede of glose. 
Thou hast trantkUid the Ronuumi qf the 

[Cornouaille here mentioned was a part 
of the province of Bretagne in France. 
Mr. Warton must have consulted some 
French MS. respecting the singers of Lo- 
raine, for the passage certainly occurs in 
some of the printed editions, and in seve- 
ral MSS.— Douce.] 
' Qu'on Joli moys de May songeoye, 
On temps amoreux plein de Joye, 
Que toute chose si s'esgaye, 
Si qu'il n'y a buissons ne haye 
Qui en May parer ne se vueille, 
Et convrir de nonvelle fueille : 
Les boys recouvrent leur verdure. 
Qui sont sees tant qui I'hiver dure ; 
La terre mesmes s'en orgouille 
Pour la roug^e qui ta mouille^ 
En oublian la povretd 
Oik elle a tout I'hiver estd ; 
Lors devient la terre si gobe, 
Qu'elle veult avoir neusve robe ; 
Si s^et si cointe robe fidre. 
Que de couleurs y a cent paire, 
D'herbes, de fleures Indes et Perses: 
Et de maintes couleurs diverses, 
Est la robe que je devise 
Parquoy la terre mienlx se prise. 
Les oiseaulx qui tant se sont teua 
Pour I'hiver qu'ils ont tons sentus, 
Et pour le froit et divers temps, 
Sont en May, et par la printemps. 
Si lies, &c V. 51. 


That all thing ginnith waxin gay. 

For ther is neither buske nor hay^ 

In May that it n'ill shroudid bene, 

And it with newe levis wrene* : 

These wooddis eke recoverin grene, 

That drie in winter ben to sene ; 

And the erth waxith proude withall 

For sote dewis that on it fall, 

And the povir estate forgette 

In whiche that winter had it sette : ' 

And than becometh the grounde so proude, 

That it will hare a newd shroud ; 

And make so quaynt his robe and fayre, 

That it had hewes an hundred payre, 

Of grasse and flowris Inde and Pers : 

And many hewis ful divers 

That is the robe I mene iwis, 

Through which the ground to praisin is, 

The birdis, that han lefte thir songe 

While they han suffrid cold ful stronge. 

In wethers grille^ and darke to sight, 

Ben in May, for the sunn^ bright 

So glad, &c* 

In the description of a grove, within the garden of Mirth, are many 
natural and picturesque circumstances, which are not yet got into the 
storehouse of modem poetry. 

These trees were sett as I devise "» 
One from another in a toise, 
Five fadom or sixe, I trowe so. 
But they were hie and gret also ; 
And for to kepe out wel the sunne, 
The croppis were so thik yrunne'^, 
And everie branch in othir knitte 
And ful of grene levis sitte^ 

^ bush, or hedge-row. SomedmuM Et si eipis par dettus fiirent 

wood. Rot Pip. as. 17. Henr. III. "Et Que chaleurs percer ne lit peuvent 

Heremite sancti Edwardi in haga de Ne ne povoient baa descendre 

Birchenwude, zL aoL" Ne fiiire mal a I'erbe tendre. 

' hide. From writ, or wrey, to cover. Au vergier eut dains & chevreleux, 

^ cold, [honidus. Prompt Parv.] Et aiusi beaucoup d'escureuz, 

^ ¥.51. Qui par dessus arbres sailloyent; 

-MdsncUto4uel«»bratfi>rent Conuin. y .toU qui yMoient 

L'ung fat d« I'iutr. loing M.U *» "••»" •»« dW«r«»n«nieMfc t. 1S6«. 

Dc dnque toifei rojn de tlx, * " the top*, or bough*, w«r« M thicicly 

Midg moult farent fueillui et hauls twitted together." 

Pbur gardir de I'ettc le chaulx * Mt, 


That sunnd might ther none discende 
Lest the tendir grassis shendeP. 
Ther might men does and roes \ae% 
And of squirels ful grete plente. 
From bow to bow alwaie lepinge ; 
Connis' ther were also playing'. 
That comin out of ther clapersS 
Of sondrie colors and maners ; 
And madin many a tumeying 
Upon the freshe grasse springing^. 

Near this grove were shaded fountains without frogs,' running into 
murmuring rivulets, bordered with the softest grass enamelled with va- 
rious flowers. 

In plaeis sawe I wellis there ^ 
In whichd ther no froggis were. 
And faire in shadow was eche wel ; 
But I ne can the nombre tel 
Of stremis smale, that by devise 
Mirth had don com thorough condbe'. 
Of which the watir in renning, 
Gan makin a' noise ful liking. 
About the brinkis of these wellis, 
And by the stremes ovir al ellis 
. - Sprange up the grasse as thick isett 

And soft eke as any velyett. 
On which man might his leman Jey 

As softe as fetheirbed to pley. 

There sprange the violet all newc. 
And freshe perwinke^ riche of hewe ; 
And flouris yalowe white and rede. 
Such plenti grew ther ner in mede : 

* be hart. * tee. ' conies. Anx borts det ruisseaulz et des rivet 
' Cbaucer imitatet thit passage in the Des fontaines cleres et vives 

Assemble of Foules, v. 190 seq. Other Poignoit I'erbe dru etplaisant 

passages of that poem are imitated fVom Grant soulas et plaisir fiiisant. 

Roman de la Rose. Amy povoit avec sa mye 

^ burroughs. Soy deporter ne'r doubtex mye. — 

* V. 1391. Violette y fut moult belle 

" Par lieux y eut cleres fontaines, Et aussi parvenche oouvelle ; 

Sans barbelotesi & sans raines, F»«"" V «"' blanches et vermeilles, 

Qui des arbres estoient umbre*, 0« «« pourroit trouver pareiUes, 

Par moy ne vous seront nombrea, I>« Routes diverses couleurs, 

Et petit ruisseaulx, que Deduit De haulx pris et de grans valeurs, 

Avoit la trouves par conduit ; Si estoit soef flairans 

L'eaue alloit aval faisant Et reflagrans et odorans. v. 1348. 
Son melodieux et plaisant. * conduits. ^ periwinkle. 

* A species of insect often found in stagnant water. 




Full gaie was al the gronnde and queint 
And poudridy as men had it peint^ 
With many a fresh and sondjy flours 
That castin up ful gode savoi^re*. 

But I hasten to display the peculiar powers of William de Lorris 
in delineating allegorical personages; none of which have suffered in 
Chaucer's translation. The poet supposes that the garcfen of Mirth, 
or rather Love, in whi^sh grew the Rose, the object of the lover^s wishes 
and labours, was enclosed with embattled walls, richly painted with 
various figures, such as Hatred, Avarice, Envy, Sorrow, Old Age, and 
Hypocrisy. Sorrow is thus represented. 

Sorrows was paintid next Envib* 

Upon that wal of masonrie. 

But wel was seen in her colour. 

That she had livid in languour ; 

Her seemid to have thQ jaundice. 

Not half so pale was Avarice, 

Ne nothing alike of lenenesse 

For sorowe, thought, and grete distresse. 

A s'rowful thing wel semid she; 

Nor she>had nothing slow ybe 

For to bescrachin of hir face, 

And for to rent in many place 

Hir clothes, and for to tere her swire^ 

As she that was fulfilled of ire: 

And al to torn lay eke hir here 

About hir shoulders, here and th<'re ; 

As she that had it all to rent 

For angre and for male talent*. 

Nor are the images of Hatred and Avarick inferior. 

Amiddis sawe I Hate ystonde.^ — 
And she was nothing wel araide 
But like a wode woman afraide: 


^ De les Envie etoit Tristesse 
Painte auasi et gamye d'angoisse. 
Et bien paroit jk sa couleur 
Qu'elle ayoit a cueur grant douleur: 
Et sembloit avoir la jaunice. 
La ii*y fiusoit riens Avarice, 
Le palisseur ne de maigreue 
Car le travaile et la destresiie, 8tc 
Moult sembloit bien que fiist dolente; 
Car el n'avoit pas este lente 
D'esgrattgnier toute sa chiere ; 
Sa robe ne luy estoit chiere 
En mains lieux I'avoit des«ir6e, 
Comma cuUe qui fut yree. 

Sea cheveulx d^rompus estoient, 
Qu'autour de son col pendoient, 
l^esque lea avoit tous desroux 
De maltalent et de corroux. ▼. 300. 

* neck. 

• ▼. 300. 

' Au milieu de mur Je vy Uatne. 
Si n'estoit pas bien atoum6e, 
Ains sembloit estre forcence 
Rechignie estoit et fronc6 
Avoit le nes et rebours6. 
Moult hydeuse estoit et souill^e 
Et fut sa teste entortill6^ 
Tres ordement d'un touaille, 
Qui moult estoit d'borrible taille. 1 43. 


Yfrownoid foule was hir viBage, 
And grinning for dispiteous rage» 
Her nose ysnortid up for tene* 
Full hideous was she forti sene, 
Full foul and rustey was she this, 
Her hed iwiithin was iwis. 
Full grimly with a grete towaile, &cJ 

The design of this work will not permit me to give the portrait of 
Idleness, the portress of the garden of Mirth, and of others, which form 
the group of dancers in the garden : but I cannot resist the pleasure 
of transcribing those of Beauty, Franchise, and Richesse, three capital 
figures in this genial assembly. 

The God of love, jolife and light,s 

Ifadde on his honde a ladle bright, 

Of high prise, and of gret degre. 

This ladle called was Beautie. 

And an arowe, of which I told, 

Full well ythewid^ was she holde: 

Ne was she darke ne browne, but bright, 

And dere as is the mond light. — 

Her fleshe was tendre as dewe of floure, 

Her chere was simple as birde in boure: 

As white as lilie, or rose in rise^ 

Her face was gentil and tretise^; 

Fetb^ she was, and smal to se. 

No wintrid"' browis hedd^ she; 

No popped" here, for't neded nought 

To windir® her or to peint ought. 

Her tresses yalowe and long straughten' 

Unto her helis down the ^raughten.' 

Nothing can be more sumptuous and superb than the robe, and 

• anger, [grief. T J 
» T. 147. 

■ Le Dieu d'amoars ti s'estoit prii 
A one dame de haalt pris, 
Pres le tenoit de toa cost< 
Celle dame eat aom Bbaulte. 
Aiiui Gomme une dee cinque flesches 
Bn Ule ant toutes bonnes taiches: 
Point ne fut obscur, ne brun, 
Mait fut clere comme la lune.-— 
Tendre eat la chair comme roue^. 
Simple fut comme une espouste. 
Bt blanch comme fleur de lis, y 
Visage eut bel doulx et alls, 
Bile estoit gresle et align^e 
N'estoit &rdi^ nepign6e, 
Car elle n'avoit pas mestier 
De soy fardef et affkictier. - 

Les cheveulz ent blons et si longs 
Q»* ils batoient aux talons. v. 1004. 

^ Having good qualities. See supr. 
▼. 939. seq. 

* on the bush ; or, in perfection; or, a 
budding rose. [On the branch. Sax. hpis, 

a well-proportioned. 

1 fetiout, handsome, [well-made, neat, 

" contracted. 

■ affectedly dressed. Properly, dress- 
ed up Kite a puppet. 
" to trim ; to adorn. 
' ttretehid\ spread abroad. 
' reached. 
» ▼. 1003. 




other ornamentsy of RiCHESsRy or Wealth. They are imagined with 
great strength of fancy. But it should be remembered^ that this was 
the age of magnificence and show ; when a profusion of the most 
splendid and costly materials were lavished on dress, generally with 
little taste and propriety^ but often with much art and invention. 

RiCHESSB a robe of purpre on had,* 
Ne trow not that I lie or madS 
For in this world is none it liche^ 
Ne by a thousand dele^ so riche, 
Ne none so faire : for it full wele 
With orfraies' laid was everie dele, 
And purtraied in the ribaninges^ 
Of dukis stories and of kinges; 
And with a bend' of gold tassiled, 
And knoppis* fine of gold amiled**. 

* De poiirpre fut le ▼estement 
A RiCHBssp, ai noblement, 
Qn'en tout le monde n'eust plus bel, 
Mieulz fait, ne tuari plus nouvel: 
Pourtraictes y fiirent d'orfroys 
Hyitoryet d'empereun et roys. 
Bt encores y aToit-il 
Un ouvnge noble et sobtil; 
A noyaulx d'or au col fermoit, 
Et a bendes d'aiur tenoit; 
Noblement eut le chief par6 
De riches pierres decor6 
Qm gettoient moult grant clart6, 
'Tout y estoit bien assortd. 
Puis eut une riche sainture 
Sainte par dessus sa vestore : 
Le boucle d'une pierre fu, 
Grosse et de moult giant vertn 
Celluy qui sur soy le protoit 
De tous Tenias gude estoit — 
D'autre pierre fut le mordans 
Qui gueriasoit du mal des dens. 
Cest pierre portoit bon cur, 
Qui TaToit pouvoit estre asseur 
De sa sant6 et de sa Yei, 
Quant A jeun H I'avoit vei : 
Les clouz iurent d'or epur6, 
Par dessus le tissu dori, 
Qui cstoSent grans et pesans, 
En chascun avoit denz besans. 
Si eut avecques a Richesse 
Uns cadre d'or mis sur la tresse. 
Si riche, si plaisant, et si bel, 
Qu'onques on ne veit le pareil: 
De pierres estoit fort gamy, 
Piedeitses et aplany, 
Qui bien en rouldroit deviser, 
On ne les pounoit pas priser 
Ruhis, y eut saphirs, jagonces, 
Bsmersindes plus de cent onoes: 
Mais devant eut par grant maistrlie, 
Ub escarbottcle bien assise 

Et le pierre si clere estoit 

Que cU qui devant la mettoit 

Si en povoit veoir au besoing 

A soy conduire une lieue loing, 

Telle darti si en yssoit 

Que Richesse en resplandissoit 

Par tout le corps et par sa (ace 

Aussi d'autour d'elle la place, v. 1066. 

« "that I Ue, or am mad." 

* like. 

^ parts [a thousandth part]. 

* embroidery in gold. 

^ laces laid on robes ; embroideries. 

* band; knot. 

* knobt; buttons. 

^ Sfiomtf^^f;— -enameling, and perhaps 
pictures in enamel, were common in the 
middle ages. From the Testament of Joh. 
de Foxle, knight, Dat apud Bramshill 
Co. Southampt. Nov. 5, 1378. "Item 
lego domino abbati de Waltham tinum 
annulum auri grossi, cum una ssiphiro 
infiza, et nominibus trium regum [of Co- 
logne] sculptis in eodem annulo. — Item 
lego Margarite sorori mee unam tabulam 
argenti deanrati et ameUtam, minorem de 
duabus quas habeo, cum diversisymagini- 
bus seulptis In eadem.--^Item lego Mar- 
gerie uzori Johanais de Wilton unnm 
monile auri, cum S. litera sculpts et ome- 
Uta in eodem." Regtstr. Wykeham, Episc. 
Winton. P. ii. fol. 24. See also Dugd. Bar. 
L 834. a. 

[Amilbo is from the French Email, 
or Enamel, This art flourished mdst at 
Limoges in France. So early as the year 
1197, we have ''Duas tabolas apneas sn- 
perauratas de 4abor§ LimoguB," Chart, 
ann. U97. apud Ughelin. torn. vii. Ital. 
tiacr. p. 1 27 4. It is called Opus Lenmovi- 
tkumf in Dugdale's Men. iii. SIO. 318. 

y^l56 ROMAUNT OF THE R08B. [SBCT. Xfll. 

About her neck, of gentle* entaileS 

Was set the richd chevesaile^; 

In which ther was ful grete plente 

Of stonis dere and faire to se. 

RiCHESE a girdle had upon v 

The bokill® of it was of ston ^ 

Of vertu grete and mokill' might, 
• For who so bare the ston so bright 

Of venim durst him nothing doubt 

While he the ston had him about — 

The mordaunt^ wrought in noble guise 

Was of a ston ful precious, 

That was so fin and vertuous 

That whole a man it couth ymake 

Of palsie, and of the tothe ake : 

And yet the ston had soche a grace 
. Tliat he was sikre** in ewrie place 

All thilkd dale not blinde to bene 

That fasting might that ston sene. 

The barris^ were of gold full fine 

Upon a tissue of sattin, 

Full hevie, grete, and nothing light, 

In everiche was a besaunt wight''. 

331. And in Wilkins's Conctl. i 666. dicto Mag. Johanne usque Rofikm. Et 

where two cabinets for the host are or- xxii 1. in materialibus circa' dictam tum- 

dered, one of silver or of ivury, and the bam defricandam. Et vii marcas, in fer- 

other de opere Lemovicino. SynodAWigorn, ramento ejusdem, et carriagio a Londin. 

A.D. 1240. And in many other places. usque ad Koff. et aliis parandis ad die* 

I find iticalled Limaise, in a metrical ro- tarn tumbam. Et xi s. cuidam ▼itriario 

'm»nce, the name of which I have forgot, pro vitris fenestrarum emptanim juxta 

where a tomb is described, tumbam dicti Episcopi apud Roffiim." 

k^A ^* «,- ♦!,« p «»,-«- e, Ant Wood's MS. Merfeon Papers, Bibl. 

And yt was^the Ronians sayes, 46.-^ADDmoN8.] 

All with golde and hmatse, « of good workmanship, or carving. 

Carpentier [V. Limooia.] observes, that From Intagliare, Ital. 

it was ahtiently a common ornament of ' necklace. * buckle, 

sumptuous tombs. He cites a Testament ' muckels great 

of the year 1327, " Jelauhuit cent Iwres ' tongue of a buckle. Mordeo, Lat 

pour faire deux tombes hautet et levies de ^ certain. 

TEuvEB de Limoges.'' The original * I cannot give the precise meaning of 

tomb of Walter de Merton, bishop of Ro- Barris, nor o( CUnut in the French. It 

Chester, erected in his cathedral about the seems to be part of a buckle. In the 

year 1S76, was mada at Limoges. This wardrobe-roll, quoted above, are men- 

appears from the accompts of his ezecu- tioned, " One hundred garters cum bou- 

tors, vis. " Et computant xl 1. v s. vi d. clet, barris, et pendentibue de argento,'* 

liberat Magistro Johanni Linnomcensi, For which were delivered, "ccc barrs ar- 

pro tudsba .dicti Episcopi Roffensis, scil. genti." An. 21. Edw. IIL-»-[CtoNU in 

firo. constnictione et carriagio de Ly- Latin, from whence the Fr. chux is de<- 

•raoges ad Rofikm. Et xl s. viii d. cuidam rived, seems to have signified not only an 

Executori apud Lymoges ad ordinandum outward border, but also what we <a1I a 

et provldendum constructionem dictae stripe. Montfaucon, t iii. P. i. ch. vi. A 

Tumbse. Et x s. viii d. cuidam gardoni bat in heraldry is a narrow stripe or/oseso, 

eunti apud Lymoges quserenti dictand — Jyewhitt.] 

tumbam construetam, et ducenti earn cum ^ " the weight of a besant" A byxant 




Upon the tressis of Richessb 

Was sett a circle of noblesse, 

Of brende^.gold, that full light yshone, 

So faire, trowe I, was nevir none. 

Bot he were konning for the nones™ 

That could devisin all the stones, 

That in the circle shewin clere, 

It is a wonder thing to here: 

For no man could or preis"^, or gesse, 

Of *hem the value or richesse: 

Rubies ther were, sap^irs, ragounces^ 

And emeraudes more than two ounces: 

But all before full subtilly 

A fine carboncle set sawe J : 

The stone so clere was and so bright, 

That al so sone as itVas night, 

Men mightin se to go for nede, 

A mile or two, in length or brede ; 

was a species of gold-coin, stamped at 
Byzantium. A wedge of gold. 

* burnished. 

" "well-skilled in these things." 

** appraise, value. 

^ The gem called a /oct'n/^ We should 
read, in Chaucer's tfezt, Jagonces instead 
of Ragounces, a word which never existed ; 
and which Speght, who never consulted 
the French Roman de la Rose, interprets 
merely from the sense of the context, to 
be " A kind of precious stone." Gloss. 
Ch. in V. The knowledge of precious 
stones was a grand article-in the natural 
philosophy of this age ; and the medical 
virtue of gems, alluded to above, was a 
doctrine much inculcated by Che Arabian 
natunUisU. Chaucer refers to a treatise 
on gems, called the Lapidary, famous 
in that time. House of Fame, L. ii. v. 

And thei were sett as thicke of ouchis 
Fhie, of the iinist stonis faire ' 
That men redin in the Lapidaire. 

Moptlaucon, in the royal library at Paris, 
recites " Le Lapioaike, de la vertu des 
pierres." Catal. MSS. p. 794. This I take 
to b^ the book here referred to by Chau- 
cer. Henry of Huntingdon wrote a book 
De Gemmit, He flourished about 1145. 
Tann. Bibl. p. 395. See a Greek Trea- 
tise, Du Cange, Gloss. Gr. Barb. ii. Ind. 
Auctor. p. 37. col. 1. In the Cotton li- 
bimry is a Saxon Treatise on precious 
stones. Tiber. A. 3. liii. fol. 98. The 
writing is more antient than the Conquest. 
See vol. i. p. 9. [The treatise referred 
to contains a meagre explanation of the 

twelve precious stones mentioned in the 
Apocalypse.] Pelloutier mentions a Latin 
poem of the eleventh century on Precious 
Stones, written by Marbode bishop of 
Reunes [who died in the year 1 123], and^ 
soon afterwards translated into French 
verse. Mem. Lang. Celt. part. i. vol. i. 
ch. ziii. p. 26. The translation begins, 

Evax fut un multriclie reis 
Lu reigne tint d*Arab6is. 

It was printed in GBuvres de Hildebert 
Eveque du Mons, edit Ant Beaugendre, 
col. 1638. This may be reckoned one of 
the oldest pieces of French versification. 
A manuscript De Speciebus Lapidum, oc- 
curs twice in the Bodleian.library, fiilsely 
attributed to one Adam Nidzarde, Cod. 
Digb. 28. f. 169.— Cod. Laud. C. S.Prtne. 
"Evax rex Arabom legitur scripsisse.** 
But it is, I think, Marbode's book above- 
mentioned. Evax is a fabulous Arabian 
king, said to have written on this subject 
Of this Marbode, -or Marbodseus, see 01. 
Borrich. Diss. Acad, de Poet pag. 87. 
§ 78. edit FrancoC 1683. 4to. His poem 
was published, with notes, by Lampridius 
Alardus. Tiie eastern writers pretend, 
that king Solomon, among a variety of 
physiological pieces, wrote a book on 
Gems ; one chapter of which treated of 
those precious stones, which resist or re- 
pel evil GeniL They suppose that Ari- 
stotle stole all his philosophy from Solo- 
mon's books. See Fabric Bibl. Gr. xiii. 
387. seq. And i. p. 71. Compare Her- 
belot, Bibl Oriental, p. 962. b. Artie. 
Ketab alahgiar seq. 


Soche light ysprang out of the stone. 
That RiCHESSB wondir bright yshone 
Both on her hedde and all hir face 
And eke about her all the place.^ 

The attributes of the portrait of Mirth are very expressive. 

Of berde uonethe had he nothing,<i 

For it was in the firsts spring : 

Ful young he was and merie' of thought^ 

And in samette' with birdis wrought. 

And with golde bete ful fetously. 

His bodie was dad full richely ; 

Wrought was his robe in straunge gise, 

And all to slittered' for queintise, 

In many a place lowe and hie, 

And shod he was, with grete maistrie, 

With shone decopid* and with lace. 

By drurie^ and eke by solace ; 

His lefe^ a rosin chapelet 

Had made and on his hedde it set.* 

Franchise is a no less attractive portrait, and sketched with equal 
grace and delicacy. 

And next him daunsid dame Frakchise, t 

Arayid in ful noble guise. 

iShe n'as not broune ne dunne of hewe, 

But white as snowe ifaUin newe, 

Her nose was wrought at point devise', 

For it was gentill and tretise ; 

With eyin glad and browis bent, 

Her hare down to her hells went* : 

' ▼. 1071. With Poulii windowet canren on hii 

' Et 81 n'avoit barbe a meiiton ■''**^* 

Si nan petit poll foUaton ; I •appose PouUt windowet was a cant 

U etoit jeune damoysaulx; phrase for a fine device or ornament. 

Son bauldrier fut portrait d*oiseaulx * modesty, [courtohip, gallantry. T. j 

Qui tout etoit h or batUt ^ mistress. 

Tres richement estoit vestu * t. 838. 

D'un' robe moult desgys^e, / Apres tous ceulx estoit Francribe, 

Qui Alt en maint lieu incis^e, Qui ne fut ne brune ne bise ; 

Et deooupp6e par quointise, Ains fut comme la neige blanche 

Bt fut chauss^ par mignotise, Courtoise estoit, joyeuse et firanche, 

D*un souliers decoupp^s i laa Le nes avoit long et tretis 

Par joyeusete et soulas, Yeulx vers rins, sourdls saitis, 

Et sa neye luy fist chapeau Les cheveulx eut tres-blons et longs, 

De roses gracieux et beau. ▼. 838. Simple feut comme les coulons. 

' tamite ; satin : explained above. Le cueur eut doulx et debonnaire. 

' cut and slashed. v. 1 190. 

*• cut or marked with figures. From * with the utmost exactness. 

decouper, Fr. to cut. Thus the parish * All the females of this poem have 

clerk Absolon, in the Miller's Tale, v. grey eyes and yellow hair. One of them 

SIO. p. 26. Urr. is said to have ** Her eyen grue as is a 


Simple she was as dove on ire, 
Ful debonaire of hart was she*^ 

The personage of Danger is of a bolder cast, and may senre as a/ 
contrast to some of the preceding. He is supposed suddenly to start ~ 
from an ambuscade ; and to prevent Bialcoil, or Kind Recqaian, from 
permitting the lover to gather the rose of beauty. 

With that anon out start DangereS 
Out of the place where he was hidde ; 
His malice in his chere was kidde^ ; 
Full grete he was, and blacke of hewe, 
Sturdie and hideous whoso him knewe ; 
Like sharpe urchons* his heere was grow, 
His eyes red sparcling as fire glow. 
His nose frouncid^ full kirkid' stoode, 
He come criande^ as he were woode.' 

Chaucer has enriched this figure. The circumstance of Danger's 
hair standing erect like the prickles on the urchin or hedge*hog, is his 
own, and finely imagined. 

Hitherto specimens have been given from that part of this poem 
which was written by William de Lorris, its first inventor. Here 
Chaucer was in his own walk. One of the most striking pictures in 
the style of allegorical personification, which occurs in Chaucer's transn. 
lation of the additional part, is much heightened by Chaucer, and indeed 
owes all its merit to the translator ; whose genius was much better 
adapted to this species of painting than that of John of Meun, the con- 
tinuator of the poem. 

With her, Labour and eke Travailed 
Lodgid bene, with sorowe and wo, 
That nevir out of her court go. 

fimcon.'* ▼. 546. Where the original ' ** was diicoTered by hit behaviour, 

word, translated grate, it vert, y. 546. or countenance.'' Perhaps we should 

We have this colour again, Orig. t. 832. read cheke, for chere. ^ 

" Let yeulx eut vert,** This too Chaucer * urchins ; hedge-hogs. 

translates, "Her eyin graie." ▼. 862. The ' contracted. 

same word ocenn in the French test be- ' crooked s turned upwards. 

ft>re us, y. 1 195. This comparison was ^ " crying as if he was mad.*' 

natural and beautiful, as drawn from a ' ▼. 3130. 

very familiar and foyourite object in the k Travaile et douleur la hebergent, 

age of the poet Perhaps Chaucer means Mws Ul le Uent et la chargent, 

«' grey as a falcon's eye*." Que mort prochaine luy presentent, 

• ▼• ^ 2 1 1. Et talent de seq repentir ; 

* A tant saillit villdn Dangere,^ Tant luy sont de fleauz sentir ; 

De U on il estoit mu6e ; Adonc luy vient en remembraunoe, 

Grant fut, noir et tout heric6 En cest tardifve presence, 

S'ot, les yeulx rouges comme feuz, Quant et se voit foible et chenue. 

Le yis fronc6, le nes hydeux y* 4733, 
Et scerie tout forcenes. y. 2959. 


Pain and Distresae, Sickaesse and Ire, 
And Melancly that angry sire, 
Ben of her palais^ senators ; 
Groning and Grutching her herbegeors" ; 
The day and night her to tourment, 
With cruill deth thei her present, 
And tellin her erliche° and late, 
That Deth stondith armid at her gate. 
Then bring they to remembraunce. 
The foly dedes of hir enfance^ 

The fiction that Sickness, Melancholy, and other beings of the like 
sort, were counsellors in the palace of Old Age, and employed in 
telling her day and night, that '^ Death stood armed at her gate,*' was 
far beyond the sentimental and satirical vein of John of Meun, and is 
conceived with great vigour of imagination. 

Chaucer appears to have been early struck with this French poem. 
In his Dreme, written long before he begun this translation, he sup- 
poses, that the chamber in which he slept was richly painted with the 
story of the Rom aunt of the Rose p. It is natural to imagine, 
that such a poem must have been a favourite with Chaucer. No 
poet, before William of Lorris, either Italian or French, had delineated 
allegorical personages in so distinct and enlarged a style, and with 
such a fullness of characteristical attributes: nor had descriptive 
poetry selected such a variety of circumstances, and disclosed such an 
exuberance of embellishment, in forming agreeable representations of 
nature. On this account, we are surprised that Boileau should men- 
tion Villon as the first poet of France who drew form and order from 

the chaos of the old French romancers. 


Villon s^eut le Premier, dans ces siecles grossiers 
Debroiiiller 1* art confus de nos vieux romanciers.^ 

But the poetry of William of Lorris was not the poetry of Boileau. 

That this poem should not please Boileau, I can easily conceive. It 
is more surprising that it shouhl have been censured as a contemptible 
performance by Petrarch, who lived in the age of fancy. Petrarch 
having desired his friend Guy de Gonzague to send him some new 
piece, he sent him the Roman de la Rose. With the poem, instead 
of an encomium, he returned a severe criticism ; in which he treats it 
as a cold, inartificial, and extravagant composition : as a proof, how 
much France, who valued this poem as her chief work, was surpassed 

> palace. ' v. 322. Chaucer alludes to this poon 

" chamberlains, [providers of lodgings, in The Marchaunt's Tale, v. 1548. p. 72. 

harbingers. T.] Urr. 

* early. * Art. Poet ch. i. He died about the 

* V.4994. year 1450. 


by Italy in eloquence and the arts of writing". In thb opinion we 
must attribute something to jealousy. But the truth is, Petrarch's 
genius was too cultivated to relish these wild excursions of imagination: 
his favourite classics, whom he revived, and studied with so much atten- 
tion, ran in his head. Especially Ovid's Art o*f Love, a poem of 
another species, and evidently formed on another plan*; but which 
Petrarch had been taught to venerate, as the model and criterion of a 
didactic poem on the passion of love reduced to a system. We may 
add, that although the poem before us was founded on the visionary 
doctrines and refinements concerning love invented by the Provencial 
poets, and consequendy less unlikely to be favourably received by 
Petrarch, yet his ideas on that delicate subject were much more Pla- 
tonic and metaphysical. 


Chaucer amiinued* His Troilus and Cresteide. Soceacio's TraUo. 
Senitmenlai andpathetie Hrokes in Chauoer*$ poem. House of Fame. 
A Provencial composition. Analysed. Improperly imifated by Pope. 

] Chaucbr's poem of Troilus and Cresseide is said to be formed 
^n an old history, written by Lollius, a native of Urbino in Italy*. 
Lydgate says that Chaucer, in this poem, 

— — made a translacion 

Of a boke which called is Trophe 

In Lumbarde tongue, &c.^ 

It is certain that Chaucer, in this piece, frequently refers to ** Mtnb 
AUCTOR Lollius ^.'' But he hints, at the same time, that Lollius wrote 
in Latin ^. I have never seen this history, either in the Lombard or the 
Latin language. I have before observed, that it i^ mentioned in Boc- 

* See Petrarch. Carm. L. i. Ep. 30. from some Italian original is, that in a 

* Petriu Lambeccius ennmeratet Lol- manuscript which I have seen of this poem, 
lius Urbicus among the HUtorici LaHni I find, Monesieo for Menestes, Rupheo for 
pri^tmi of the third century. Prodrom. Ruphet, Phehtueo for Phebuset, lib. iv. 50. 
p. 840. Hamb. 1059. See also Voss. Histo- seq. where, by the way, Xantippe, a Tro- 
ric Latin, ii. 2. p. 103. edit. Lugd. Bat. jan chief, was perhaps corruptly written for 
But this could not be Chaucei^s Lollius. Xantippo, L e. Xantippus. As Joseph. Is- 
Chaucer places Lollius among the histori- can. iv. 10. In Lydgate's Tioy,ZaiUiphms, 
ansofTioy, in his House of Fame, iii. 380. iii. 80. All corrupted from An tiphus, Diet. 
It is extraordinary, that DuFresnoy, in the Cret. p. 105. In the printed copies we 
Index Anetorwin, used by him for his Latin have Ascaiapho for Ascalaphus, lib. v. 3 1 0. 
gloasary, should mention this Lollius Urbi- ^ Prol. Bocb. st iii. 

cus of the third century. Tom^i. p. 141. • See lib. i. v. 395. 

e£L i. As I apprehend, none of his works * Lib. ii. v. 10. 

remidn. A proof that Chaucer translated 




[sect. XIV. 

cacio's Decameron, and that a translation of it was made into Greek 
▼erse by some of the Greek fugitives in the fourteenth century. Du 
Fresnoy, if I mistake not, somewhere mentions it in Italian*. In the 
royal library at Paris it occurs ofteu as an antient French romance. 
" Cod. 7546. Roman de Troilus."— «• Cod. 7564. Roman de Troiius et de 
Briseida ou Cnseida." — Again, as an original work of Boccacio. " Cod. 
7757. Philostrato dell' amorose fatiche de Troilo per Giovanni Boc- 
cacio f." ''Les suivans (adds Montfaucon^) contiennent les autre* 
ceuvres de Boccace." Much fabulous history concerning Troiius is re- 
lated in Guido de Columnas Destruction of Troy. Whatever were 
Chaucer's materials, he has on this subject constructed a poem of con- 
siderable merit, in which the vicissitudes of love are depicted in a strain 
of true poetry, with much pathos and simplicity of sentiment*. He calls 
it, '< a litill tragedie V Troiius is supposed to have seen Cresside in a 
temple ; and retiring to his chamber, is thus naturally described, in the 
critical situation of a lover examining his own mind after the first im- 
pression of love. 

And whan that he in chambre was alone, 

He down upon his beddis fete him sette. 

• [L'Amore di Troilo e GrUeida, di An- 
gelo Leonico, Ven. 1553. 8vo. Ihi Fres-* 
noy Bibl. des Romans, i. SI 7. — Douce.] 

t [Boccacio's Filostkato was printed 
in quarto at Milan, in 1488. The title 
is, " II Ftolostrato, che tracta de lo 
innamoramento de Troilo a Gryse- 
Ida: et de molte altre infinite battaglie. 
Impresso nella inclita cita de Milano par 
magistro Uldericbo Scinzenseler nell anno 
M.ccccLxxxxYiii. a di xxvii di mese Sep- 
tenabre." It is in the octave stanza. The 
editor of the Canterbury Tales in- 
forms me, that Bocaccio himself, in his 
Decameron, has made the same honour- 
able mention of this poem as of the Tbe- 
seida, although without acknowledging 
either for his own. In the Introduction 
to the Sixth Day, he says, that " Dioneo 
insieme con Lauretta de Troile et di 
Criseida cominciarono cantare." Just 
as, afterwards, in the conclusion of the 
Seventh Day, he says, that the same " Di« 
oneo et Fiametta gran pezzi cantarono 
insieme d'Arcita et di Palamone." 
Sec Cantcrb. T. vol. iv. p. 85. iii. p. 311. 
Chaucer appears to have been as much in- 
debted to Boccacio in his Troiius and Cres- 
seide, as in his Knightes Tale. At the sam^ 
time we must observe, that there are seve- 
ral long passages, and even episodes, in 
Troiius, of which no traces appear in the 
Filostrato. Chaucer speaks of himself as 
t translator out of Latin, B. ii. 14. And 
he calls his author Lollius, B. i. 394- 
421. and B. v. 1652. The latter of these 
two paitages is in the Philostrato ; but the 

former, containing Petrarch's sonnet, is 
not. And when Chaucer says, he trant' 
latttfrom Latin, we must remember, that 
the Italian language was called Latino 
volgare. Shall we suppose, that Chaucer 
followed a more complete copy of the Fi- 
lostrato than that we have at present, or 
one enlarged by some officious interpola- 
tor ? The Parisian manuscript might per- 
haps clear these difficulties. In Bennet 
library at Cambridge, there is a manu- 
script of Chaucer's Troiius, elegantly 
written, with a frontispiece beautifully il- 
luminated, Lxi. — Additions.] 

' Bibl. p. 793. col. 2. Compare Lengl. 
Bibl. Rom. ii. p. 253. 

* Chaucer however claims no merit of 
invention in this poem. He invokes Clio 
to favour him with rhymes only ; and adds, 
*-» To everie lover I me' excuse 
That -of no sentiment I this endite 
But out of latin in my tonge it write, 
L.ii. V. 10 seq. But Sir Francis Klnas- 
ton, who translated Troiius and Cresseidc 
[1635.] into Latin rhymes, says that Chau- 
cer in this poem " has taken the liberty of 
his own inventions." In the mean time, 
Chaucer, by hU own references, seemi to 
have been studious of seldom departing 
from Lollius. In one place, he pays him a 
compliment, as an author whose excellen- 
cies he could not reach. L. iii. v. 1330. 
But sothe is, though I can not tellen all. 
As can mine author ^hit excellence, 
SeealsoL.ui. 576. 1823. 
* L. ult. V. 1785. 


And first he gan to sike^, and efte to grone, 
And thought aie on her so withoutin lette : 
That as he satte and woke, his spirit mette^ 
That he her saugh, and temple, and all the wise' 
Right of her loke, and gan it newe avise.^ 

There is not so much nature in the sonnet to Love, which follows. 
It is translated from Petrarch ; and had Chaucer followed hb own ge- 
nius, he would not have disgusted us with the affected gallantry and 
exaggerated compliments which it extends through five tedious stanzas. 
The doubts and delicacies of a young girl disclosing her heart to her 
lover, are exquisitely touched in this comparison. 

And as the newe abashid nightingale 

That stintith™ first, when she beginith sing, 

When that she herith any herdis^ tale^ 

Or in the hedgis anie wight stirring, 

And after sikir^ doth her voice outring ; 

Right so Cresseidd when that her drede fltentP 

Opened her herte and told him her intent 4. 

The following pathetic scene may be selected from many others. 
Troilus seeing Cresside in a swoon, imagines her to be dead. He un- 
sheaths his sword with an intent to kill himself, and utters these exda* 

And thou^ cite, in which I live in wo. 

And thou Priam, and brethren al ifere^ 

And thou, my mother, farwel, for I go : 

And, Atropos, make ready thou my bere : 

And thou Creseidd, O sweet hert^ dere, 

Receive thou now my spirit, would he say, 

With swerd at hert aJl redy for to dey. 

But as god would, of swough" she tho abraideS 
And gan to sighe, and Troilus she cride : 
And he answerid. Lady mine Creseide, 
Livin ye yet? And let his sword doune glide, 
Yes, hertd mine, that thankid be Cupide, 
Quoth she : and therwithall she sore sight^ 
And he began to glad her as he might 

Toke her in armis two, and kist her of^ 
And her to glad he did all his entent : 
. For which her ghost, that flickered aie alofle 
Into her woefull breast aien it went : 
But at the last, as that her eyin glent^ 

■ sigh. ^ thought, imagined. ' her fears ceased. 

* manner. ^ 1. i. ▼. 359. * I. iii. v. 1239. ' together. 

*** stops. * herdsman, a shepherd. ** swoon. * then awaked. 

* with confidence. * sighed. ^ glanced. 



Aside, anon she gan hb swerde aspie, 
As it lay bere, and gan for fere to one : 

And askid him why he had it outdrawe ? 

And Troilus anon the cause hir tolde, 

And how therwith himself he would have slawe : 

For which Creseide upon him gan behold, 

And gan him in her armis fast to fold ; 

And said, O mercy, God, lo whiche a dede 

Alas I how nere we werin bothd dede I ' 

' Pathetic description Is one of Chaucer's peculiar excellencies. 

' In this poem are various imitations from Ovid, which are of too par- 
ticular and minute a nature to be pointed out here, and belong to the 
province of a professed and formal commentator on the piece. The 
Platonic notion in the third book^ about universal love, and the doc- 
trine that this principle acts with equal and uniform influence both in 
the natural and moral world, are a translation from Boethius*. And in 
the K night's Tale he mentions, from the same favourite system of 
philosophy, the Faire Chaine of Love'. It is worth observing, that 
the reader is referred to Dares Phrygius, instead of Homer, for a dis- 
play of the achievements of Troilus. 

His worth! dedis who so list him here. 
Rede Dares, he can tel hem all ifere*. 

Our author, from his excessive fondness for Statins, has been guilty of 
a very diverting and what may be called a double anachronism. He 
represents Cresside, with two of her female companions, sitting in a 
pavid parlour^ and reading the Thebaid of Statins ^ which is called 
the Gesterfthe Siege of Thebes''^ and ike Romance of Thehis\ In an- 
other place, Cassandra translates the Arguments of the twelve books of 
the Thebaid ^ In the fourth book of this poem, Pandarus endeavours 

* 1. !▼. V. 1205. away, rather than play at chess, calls for 
y ▼. 1750. a Romaunce: in which "were writtin 

* Consolat Philosoph. L. ii. Met. ult. fahles of quenis livis and of kings, and 
ill. Met 2. Spenser is full of the same many othir thingis smale." This proves 
doctrine. See Fairy Queen, i. iz. 1. iv. to be Ovid, v. 52 seq. See Man. of L. T. 
z. 34. 35, ftc. ftc I could point out many v. 54. Urr. There was an old French 
other imitations from Boethius in this Romance called Partombpbx, often cited 
poem. by Du Cange and Carpentier. Ol. Lat. 

> V. 2990. Urr. This is Parthenopeus, a hero of the The- 

* L. iv. V. 1770. ban story. It was translated into English, 
^ L. ii. V. 81. ® L. ii. v. 84. and called Pertonape. See vol. i. p. 127. 
^ L. ii. V. 100. Bishop Amphiorax is [The romance of Partonepez de Blois, 

mentioned, lb. v. 104. Pandarus says v. cited by Du Cange, has no connexion with 
106 : the Theban story. See Mr. Rose's ver- 

All this I know my selve, "*»." f«' ^^^^'^7^•«"5•A .k . 

And all theassiege of Thebes, ind all the / \'^- ""' ^^^^'J 7?" •f.^'SJ^'J 
care Cresside proposes the trial of the Ordeal 

ring the times ef trnce, amuses himself 
U his Dreme, Chaucer to pass the night with hawking. L. iii. v. 1785. 


to comfort Troilus with arguments concerning the doctrine of predes- 
tination, taken from Biadwardine, a learned archbishop and theologist, 
and nearljr Chaucer's cotemporary'. 

This poem, although almost as long as the Eneid, was intended to be 
sung to the harp, as well as read. 

And redde where so thou be, or ellis ionge^. 

It b dedicated to the marall Gower, and to the philosophical Strode. 
Gower will occur as a poet hereafter. Strode was eminent for his 
scholastic knowledge, and tutor to Chaucer's son Lewis at Merton col- 
\eg,e in Oxford. 

^Whether the House of Fame is Chaucer's invention, or suggested 
bj any French or Italian poet, I cannot determiner] But I am apt to 
think it was originally a Provencial composition, — among other proofis 
from this passage : 

And ther came out so gret a noise, 
' That had it standin upon Oyse, 
Men might have herd it esily, 
I trow, to Rome sikerly.^ * 

The Oyse is a river in Picardy, which falls into the river Seine, not 
many leagues from Paris. An Englishman would not have expressed 
distance by such an unfamiliar illustration. Unless we reconcile the 
matter, by supposing that Chaucer wrote this poem during his travels. 
There is another passage where the ideas are those of a foreign ro* 
mance. To the trumpeters of renown the poet add9> 

All that usid clarion 

In Casteloigne or Arragon.' 

Casteloigne is Catalonia in Spain*'. The martial musicians of English 
tournaments, so celebrated in story, were a more natural and obvious 
allusion for an English poet^ 

This poem contains great strokes of Gothic imagination, yet border- 
ing often on the most ideal and capricious extravagance. The poet, in 
a vision, sees a temple of glass, 

In which were more images 

Of gold stondinge in suudrie stages, 

' In hu book De Causa Dei, published > He mentions a plate of gold, " As fine 

by Sir Henry Savile, 1617. He touches on as duckett in Venite." B. iii. v. 258. But 

this controversy, Nonne's Pr. T. v. 1349. he says, that the Galaxy is called WaU 

Urr. See also Tr. Cr. L. iy. v. 961 seq. fyng-strete, B. ii. v. 431. He swears by 

' L. ult V. 1796. Thomas Becket, B. iii. v. 41. In one 

^ h. ii. ▼. 838. [See infra Sect zvUL place he is addressed by the name of 

Note t, from the Additions.] Geoffrey. B. Ii. ▼. 221. But in two 

• B. iii. V. 157. others by that of Peter. B. ii. v. 526, 

^ See Marchaunt's Tale, ▼.1231. p. 70. B. iii. v. 909. Among the musicians, he 

Urr. He mentions a rock higher than any mentions " Pipirs of idl the Duche tong,'* 

in Spain. B. iii. ▼. 27. But this I believe B. iii. ▼. 144. 

was an English proverb. 


Sette in more {iche tabernacles, 
And with perre" more pinnacles. 
And more curious pourtraituris, 
And quaint manir of figuris, 
Of golde work than I sawe evir.' 

On the walls of this temple were engraved stories from VirgiFs Eneid** 
and Ovid's Epistles p. Leaving this temple, he sees an eagle with golden 
wings soaring near the sun. 

Paste by the sonne on hie, 

As kennyng myght I with mine eie, 
Methought I sawe an egle sore ; 
But that it semid mochil moreS 

Then I had any egle sene'. 

It was af gold, and shone so bright, 
That nevir man sawe suche a sight, &c.' 

The eagle descends, seizes the poet in his talons, and mounting again, 
conveys him to the House of Fame, which is situated, like that of Ovid, 
between earth and sea. In their passage thither, they fly above the 
stars ; which our author leaves, with clouds, tempests, hail, and snow, 
far beneath him. This aerial journey is partly copied from Ovid's Phae- 
ton in the chariot of the sun. But the poet apologises for this extrava- 
gant fiction, and explains his meaning, by alleging the authority of 
Boethius; who says, that Contemplation may soar on the wings of Phi- 
losophy above every element. He likewise recollects, in the midst of 
his course, the description of the heavens, given by Marcianus Capella 
in his book De Nuptiis PhiloloffUE et Mercurn\ and Alanus in his 
Anticlatidian^, At his arrival in the confines of Ihe House of Fame, 
he is alarmed with confused murmurs, issuing from thence, like distant 
thunders or billows. This circumstance b also borrowed from Ovid's 

^ jewels. ^ B. i. t. 120. Nonesuch, all Ovid's Metamorphoses were 

** Where he mentions Yurgirs heU, he cut in stone under the windows. Hearne, 

likewise refers to ClaudianDe/Zap^u Proa- Coll. MSS. 55. p. 64. But the Epistles 

erptiM0,and Dante's Inferno, v. 450. There seem tahave been the favourite work, the 

is a translation of a few lines from Dante, subject of which coincided with the gal- 

whom he calls " the wise poet of Florence," lantry of the times. 

in the Wife of Bath's Tale, v. 1125. p. 84. ^ greater. 

Urr. The story of Hugolin of Pisa, a sub- ' The eagle says to the poet, that this 

ject which sir Joshua Reynolds has lately house stands 

painted in a capital style, is translated from ^.^^ ^^ ^ ^^ .^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^,j.^h 

Dante, " the grete poete of Itahe that hight ** 

Dante," in the Monke* Tale, v. 877. A B. ii. v. 204. That is, Ovid's Metamor- 

sehtence from Dante is cited in the Le- phoses. See Met. L. xii. v. 40. &c. 

gende of Good Women, v. 360. In the • B. i. v. 496 seq. 

Freere's Tale, Dante is compared with Vir- * See The Marchaunt's Tale, v. 1248. 

git, V. 256. p. 70. Urr. And Lidg. Stor. Theb. fol. 

' It was not only in the fairy palaces of 357. 

the poets and romance-writers of the mid- * A fampus book in the middle ages. 

die ages, that Ovid's stories adorned the There is an old French translation of it 

walls. In one of the courts of the palace of Bibl. Reg. Paris. MSS. Cod. 7632. 


temple^. He is left by the eagle near the house, which is built of 
materials bright as polished glass, and stands on a rock of ice of ex* 
cessive height, and almost inaccessible. All the southern side of this 
rock was covered with engravings of the names of famous men, which 
were perpetually melting away by the heat of the sun. The northern 
side of the rock was alike covered with names ; but being here shaded 
from the warmth of the sun, the characters remained unmelted and un- 
efiaced. The structure of the house is thus imagined. 

Me thoughtin by sainct Gile, 

That all ^as of stone of berille. 
Both the castle and the toure. 
And eke the hall and everie boure' : 
Without pecis or joynynges. 
And many subtill compassyngs. 
As barbicans 7 and pinnacles. 
Imageries and tabernacles 
I sawe, and full eke of windowis 
As flakb fallin in grete snowis. 

In these lines, and in some others which occur hereafter*, the poet 
perhaps alludes to the many new decorations in architecture, which 
began to prevail about his time, and gave rise to the florid Gothic style. 
There are instances of this in his other poems. In his Dream e, 
printed 1597.* 

And of a sute were al the touris, 
Subtily carven aftir flouris.^— 
With many a smal turret hie. 

And in the description of the palace of Pleasaunt Regarde, in the 


Fairir is none, though it were for a king, 
Devisid wel and that in every thing ; 
The towris hie, ful plesante shall ye finde, 
With fannis fresh, turning with everie winde. 
The chambris, and the parlirs of a sorte. 
With bay windows, goodlie as may be thought : 
As for daunsing or othir wise disporte, 
The galeries be al right wel ywrought. 

In Chaucer's Life by William Thomas*, it is not mentioned that he 

^ See Met. xit. 39. And Virg. ^n. • [Chaucer's Life in Urry'i edition. 

iv. 173. Val. Place, ii. 117. Lucan. L William Thomas digested this Life from 

469. collections by Dart. His brother, Dr. 

' chamber. Timothy Thomas, wrote or compiled the 

y turrets. Glossary and Preface to that edition. 

* B.iti. ▼. 211. See Dart's Westminster Abbey, i. 80. 

* ▼.81. p. 572. Urr. Timothy Thomas was of Christ Church 

* V. 158. Oxford, and died in 1757.— Additions.] 


erocsB OF famb* 


t appointed clerk of the king s works, in the palace of Westminster, 
in the royal manors of Shene, Kenington, Byfleet, and Clapton, and in 
the Mews at Charing*^. Again in 1S80, of the works of St. George's 
chapel at Windsor, then ruinous^ — But to return. 

Within the niches formed in the pinnacles stood all round the 

All manir of minstrelis. 

And jestours' that tellyn tales 
Both of weping gand eke of game. 

That is, those who sung or recited adventures either tragic or comic, 
which excited either compassion or laughter. They were accompanied 
with the most renowned harpers^ among which were Orpheus, ArioB» 
Chiron, and the Briton Glaskerion^ Behind these were placed, <<by 
many a thousand time twelve," players on various instruments of music 
Among the trumpeters are named Joab, Virgil's Misenus, and Theoda- 
mas^ About these pinnacles were also marshalled the most famous ma- 
gicians, juglers, witches, prophetesses, sorceresses, and professors of 
natural magic ^ which ever existed in antient or modern times : such 
a3 Medea, Circe, Calliope, Hermes^ Limotheus, and Simon Magus'. 

* Claus. 8. Ric. II. 

" PaL 14. Ric. II. Apud Tanner, Bibl. 
p. 166. Notee. 

' This word is above explained, 

* Concerning this harper, see Percy's 

* See also The Marchaunt's Tale, ▼. 
1236 seq. p. 70. Urr. 

' See the Frankelein's Tale, where 
several feats are described, as exhibited 
at a feast done by natural magic, a fa- 
vorit«» science of the Arabians. Chaucer 
there calls it "An art which sotill trage- 
toris plaie." v. 2696. p. 1 1 0. Urr. Qf this 
more will be said hereafter. 

^ None of the works of the first Her- 
mes Trismegistus now remain. See Cor^^ 
nel. Agrip. Van. Scient cap. xlviiv The 
astrologiod and other philosophical pieces 
under that name are supposititious. See 
Fabr. Bfblioth. Gr. xii. 708. And Chan. 
Yetn. Tale, v. 1455. p. 126. Unr. Some of 
these pieces were published under the fic- 
titious names of Abel, Enoch, Abraham, 
Solomon, Saint Paul, and of many of the 
patriarchs and fathers. Cornel. Agripp. 
De Van. ScienL cap. xlv. who adds, that 
these trifles were followed by Alphonsus 
king of Castile, Robert Grosthead, Bacon, 
and Apponus. He mentions Zabulus and 
Barnabas of Cyprus as famous writers in 
magic See also Gower's Confess. Amant 
p. 134 b. 149 b. edit. 1554. fol. per Ber- 
(belette. In speaking of antient authors, 

who were known or celebrated in the mid- 
dle ages, it may be remarked, that Macro- 
bius was one. He is mentioned by Wil- 
liam de Lorris in the Roman de la Rose, 
V. 9. " Ung aucteur qui ot nom Macrobe." 
A line literally translated by Chaucer, "An 
author that h\ghl Maenbes." ?. 7. Chau- 
cer quotes him in his Dreme, v. 284. In 
the Nonnes Priest's Tale, v. 1238. p. 171. 
Urr. In the Assemblie of Fowles, v. 1 1 1 . 
see also ibid. v. 31. He wrote a commeat 
on Tully's Somnium Scipionis,and in these 
passages he is referred to on account of that 
piece. Petrarch, in a letter to Nicolas Si- 
geros, a learned Greek of Constantinople, 
quotes Macrobius as a Latin author of all 
others the most familiar to Nicolas. It is 
^0 prove that Homer is the fountain of all 
invention. This is in 1354. Famil. Let. 
i:K. 2. There is a manuscript of the first, 
and part of the second book of Macrobius, 
elegantly written, as it seems, in France, 
about the year 800. MSS. Cotton. Vitell. 
C. ui. Cod. Membr. fol. viii. fol. 138. M, 
Planudes, a Constantinopolitan monk of 
the fourteenth century, is said to have 
translated Macrobius into Greek. But see 
Fabric. Bibl. Gr. x. 534. It is remarkable, 
that in the above letter, Petrarch apolo- 
gises for calling Plato the Prince of Phi- 
losophers, after Cicero, Seneca, Apuleius, 
Plotinus, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Austin. 
* Among these he mentions Juglert^ 
that is, in the present sense of the word, 


At entering the hall he sees an infinite multitude of heralds, on the 
surcoats of whom were richly embroidered the armorial ensigns of the 
most redoubted champions that ever tourneyed in Africa, Europe, or 
Asia. The floor and roof of the hall were covered with thick plates of 
gold studded with the costliest gems. At the upper end, on a lofky 
shrine made of carbuncle, sate Fame. Her figure is like those in Vir- 
gil and Ovid. Above her, as if sustained on her shoulders, sale Alex- 
ander and Hercules. From the throne to the gates of the hall, ran a 
range of pillars with respective inscriptions. On the first pilUir made 
of lead and iron^ stood Josephus, the Jewish historian, << That of the 
Jewis gestis told," with seven other writers on the same subject. On 
the second pillar, made of iron, and painted all over with the blood of 
tigers, stood 8tatius. On another higher than the rest stood Homer, 
Dares Phrygius, Livy*, Lollius, Guido of Colunma, and Geoffiry of 
Monmouth, writers of the Trojan story. On a pilUir of ** dnnid iron 
clere," stood Virgil ; and next him on a pillar of copper, appeared 
Ovid. The figure of Lucan was placed on a pillar of iron ** wroght full 
sternly," accompanied with many Roman historians"*. On a pillar of 
sulphur stood Claudian, so symbolised, because he wrote of Pluto and 

That bare up all the fame of hell ; 

Of Pluto and of Proserpine 

That queen is of the darke pine.'' 

The hall was filled with the writers of antient tales and romances, 
whose subjects and names were too numerous to be recounted. In the 
mean time crowds from every nation and of every condition filled the hall, 
and each presented his claim to the queen. A messenger is dispatched 
to summon Eolus from his cave in Thrace ; who is ordered to bring his 
two clarions called Slander and Praise, and his trumpeter Triton. 
The praises of each petitioner are then resounded, according to 
the partial or capricious appointment of Fame; and equal merits 
obtain very difierent success. There is much satire and humour in 
these requests and rewards, and in the disgraces and honours which are 
indiscriminately distributed by the queen, without discernment and by 
chance. The poet then enters the house or labyrinth of Rumour. It 

those who practised Legerdemain, a po- alsomuchadmired by Petrarch; who, whHe 
pular science in ChaucePs time. Thiu in at Paris, assisted in translating him into 
Squ. T. y. 239. Urr. French. This circumstance might make 

A.ju^lon„p,«yi„atthe«fe.ti.grete. 5-X^;::^ti. J t?."*""" "^"^^ 
It was an appendage of the occult sciences ™ Was not this intended to characterise 

studied and introduced into Europe by the Lucan 7 Quintilian says of Lucan, " Ora- 

Arabians. toribus magis quam;>oe/M annumerandus." 

^ In the composition of these pillars, Instit Orat L. z. c. 1. 
Chaucer displays his chemical knowledge. ^ B. iii. t. 419. Chaucer alludes to this 

^ Dares Phrygius and Livy are both poem of Claudian in the Marchaunt*s Tale, 

cited in Chaucer's Dreme, t. 1070. 1084. where he calls Pluto, the king of <'foyrie." 

Chaucer is fond of quoting Livy. He was y. 1744. p. T3. Urr. 


was built of sallow twigs, like a cage, and therefore admitted every 
sound. Its doors were also more numerous than leaves on the trees, 
and always stood open. These are romantic exaggerations of Ovid's 
inventions on the same subject. It was moreover sixty miles in length, 
and perpetually turning round. From this house» says the poet, issued 
tidings of every kind, like fountains and rivers from the sea. Its inha- 
bitants, who were eternally employed in hearing or telling news, to- 
gether with the rise of reports, and the formation of lies, are then hu- 
mourously described : the company is chiefly composed of sailors, pil- 
grims, and pardoners. At length our author is awakened at seeing a 
venerable personage of great authority : and thus the Vision abruptly 

Pope has imitated this piece, with his usual elegance of diction and 
harmony of versification. But in the mean time, he has not only mis- 
represented the story, but marred the character of the poem. He has 
endeavoured to correct its extravagances by new refinements and ad- 
ditions of another cast : but he did not consider, that extravagances are 
essential to a poem of such a structure, and even constitute its beauties.. 
An attempt to unite order and exactness of imagery with a subject 
formed on principles so professedly romantic and anomalous, is like 
giving Corinthian pillars to a Gothic palace. When I read Pope's ele- 
gant imitation of this piece, I think I am walking among the modem 
monuments unsuitably placed in Westminster Abbey. 


Chaucer continued. The supposed occasion of his Canterbury Tales 
superior to that of Boccacio's Decameron, Squire* s Tale, Chaucer* s 
capital poem. Origin of its fictions. Story of Patient Grisilde. 
Its origiuy popularity , and characteristic excellence. How conducted 
by Chaucer. 

Nothing can be more ingeniously contrived than the occasion on 
which Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are supposed to be recited. A 
company of pilgrims, on their journey to visit the shrine of Thomas 
Becket at Canterbury, lodge at the Tabarde-inn in Southwark. Al- 
though strangers to each other, they are assembled in one room at sup- 
per, as was then the custom ; and agree, not- only to travel together the 
next morning, but to relieve the fatigue of the journey by telling each 
tf story*. Chaucer undoubtedly intended to imitate Boccacio, whose 

* There is an inn at Burford in Oxford- their road to Saint Edward's shrine in the 
shire, which accommodated pilgrims on abbey of Gloucester. A long room, with 

SECT. XV.] squire's TALE. 171 

Decameron was then the most popular of books^ in wntjing a set of 
tales. But the circumstance invented by Boccacio, as the cause which 
gave rise to his Decameron, or the relation of his hundred stories^, 
is by no means so happily conceived as that of Chaucer for a similar 
purpose. Boccacio supposes, that when the plague began to abate at 
Florence, ten young persons of both sexes retired to a country house» 
two miles from the city, with a design of enjoying fresh air, and passing 
ten days agreeably. Their principal and established amusement, in- 
stead of playing at chess after dinner, was for each to tell a tale. One 
superiority, which, among others, Chaucer's plan afforded above that of 
Boccacio, was the opportunity of displaying a variety of striking and 
dramatic characters, which would not have easily met but on such an 
expedition ; — a circumstance which also contributed to give a variety 
to the stories. And for a number of persons in their situation, so na- 
tural, so practicable, so pleasant, I add so rational, a mode of entertain- 
ment, could not have been imagined. 

The Canterbury Tales are unequal, and of various merit. Few, 
if any, of the stories are perhaps the invention of Chaucer. I have al- 
ready spoken at large of the Knight's Tale, one of our author's noblest 
compositions^ Thalt of the Canterbury Tales, which deserves the 
next place, as written in the higher strain of poetry, and the poem by 
which Milton describes and characterises Chaucer, is the SquIer'sTale. 
The imagination of this story consists in Arabian fiction engrafted on 
Gothic chivalry. Nor is this Arabian fiction purely the sport of arbi- 
trary fancy : it is in great measure founded on Arabian learning. Cam- 
buscan, a king of Tartary, celebrates his birth-day festival in the hall 
of his palace at Sarra, with the most royal magnificence. In the midst 
of the solemnity, the guests are alarmed with a miraculous and unex- 
pected spectacle : the minstrels cease on a sudden, and all the assem- 
bly is hushed in silence, surprise, and suspense. 

While that this king sit thus in his nobley, 
Herking his minbtralles hir thinges pley, 
Befome him at his bord deliciously : 
In at the halld dore, al sodenly, 
Ther came a knight upon a stede of bras ; 
And in his bond a brod mirrour of glas : 
Upon his thombe he had of gold a ring, 
And by his side a naked swerd hanging. 
And up he rideth to the highe bord : 
In all the halle ne was ther spoke a word, 

a series of Gothic windows, still remains, tales. His Eclogues are full of Greek 

which was their refectory. Leland men- words. This was natural at the revival of 

tions such another, Itin. ii. 70. the Greek language. 

•* It is remarkable, that Boccacio chose * The reader will excuse my irregular- 
a Greek title, that is, Aejcai^/iepov, for his ity in not considering it under the Can- 
Tales. He has also given Greek names terbory Tales. I have here given the rea- 
to the ladies and gentlemen who recite the son, which is my apology, in the text. 

172 SQUIBB's TALE. [sBCT. XV. 

For mervaille of this knight ; him to behold 
Ful besily they waiteo yong and old^. 

These presents were sent by the king of Araby and Inde to Cambus- 
can in honour of his feast. The Horse of brass> on the skilful move- 
ment and management of certain secret springs, transported his rider 
into the most dbtant region of the world in the space of twenty-four 
hours ; for, as the rider chose, he could fly in the air with the swiftness 
of an eagle ; and again, as occasion required, he could stand motionless 
in opposition to the strongest force, vanish on a sudden At command, 
and return at his master's call. The Mirrour of glass was endued with 
the power of showing any future disasters which might happen to Cam- 
buscan's kingdom, and discover^ the most hidden machinations of trea- 
son. The Naked Sword could pierce armour deemed impenetrable, 

Were it as thicke as is a braunched oke. 

And he who was wounded with it could never be healed, unless its pos- 
sessor could be entreated to stroke the wound with its edge. The Ring 
was intended for Canace, Cambuscan's daughter ; and, while she bore 
it in her purse, or wore it on her thumb, enabled her to understand the 
language of every species of birds, and the virtues of every plant 

And whan this knight hath thus his tale told. 
He rideth out of halle and doun he light : 
His Stede, which that shone as sonnd bright, 
Stant in the court as stille as any ston. 
This knight is to his chambre ladde anon. 
And is unarmed, and to the mete ysette : 
Thise presents ben ful richelich yfette. 
This is to sain, the Swerd and the Mirrour, 
And borne anon into the highe tour, 
With certain officers orduned therfore : 
And unto Canace the Ring is bore 
Solempnely, ther she sat at the table ^ 

I have mentioned, in another place, the favourite philosophical stu- 
dies of the Arabians 'ii In thb poem the nature of those studies is dis- 
played, and their operations exemplified : and this consideration, added 
to the circumstances of Tartary being the scene of action, and Arabia 
the country from which these extraordinary presents are brought, in- 
duces me to believe this story to be one of the many fables which the 
Arabians imported into Europe. At least it is formed on their prin- 
ciples. Their sciences were (incltured with the warmth of their imagi- 

* V. 96. See a fine romantic story of a any obstruction from guards or gates, ridea 

Count de Macon ; who, while revelling in directly forward to the high Uble ; and, 

his hall with many knights, is suddenly with an imperious tone, orders the count 

alarmed by the entrance of a gigantic figure to follow him, &c. Nic. Gillos, chron. ann. 

of H black^nian, mounted on a black steed. 1 120. Se« also Obs. Fair. Uu. § v. p. U6. 

This terrible stranger, without receiving * v. 188. ' Diss. i. ii. 

SBcrr.xY.] squiRiB's TALB. 173 

notions; and eonsiBted in wonderful discoTeries and myateriouB inven- 

This idea of a horse of brass took its rise firom their chemical know- 
ledge and experiments in metals. The treatise of Jeber, a famous Arab 
chemist of the middle ages» called Lapis Philosophorum, contains 
many curious and useful processes concerning the nature of metals, 
their fusion, purification, and malleability, which still maintain a place 
kk modem systems of that science'. The poets of romance, who deal 
is Arabian ideas, describe the Trojan horse as made of brass\ These 
sages pretended the power of giving life or speech to some of their 
compositions in metal. Bishop Grosthead's speaking brazen head, 
sometimes attributed to Bac<Hi, has its foundation in Arabian philoso- 
phy*. In rhe romance of Valentine and Orson, a brazen head fa- 
bricated by a necromancer in a magnificent chamber of -the castle of 
Clerimond, declares to those two princes their royal parentage^. We 
are told by William of Malmesbury, that Pope Sylvester the Second, a 
profound mathematician who lived in the eleventh century, made a 
brazen head, which would speak when spoken to, and oracukurly re- 
solved many difficult questions^. Albertus Magnus, who was also a 
profound adept in those sciences which were taught by the Arabian 
schoolB, is said to have framed a man of brass; which not 'only answer- 
ed questions readily and truly, but was so loquacious, that Thomas 
Aquinas, while a pupil of Albertus Magnus, afterwards an Angelic 
doctor, knocked it in pieces as the disturber of hb abstruse speculations* 
This was about the year 1240"*. Much in the same manner, the no- 
tion of our knight's horse being moved by means of a concealed engine, 
corresponds with their pretences of producing preternatural effects, 
and their love of surprising by geometrical powers. Exactly in thb 
notion, Rocail, a giant in some of the Arabian romances, is said to have 
built a palace, together with his own sepulchre, of most magnificent 
architecture, and with singular artifice : in both of these he placed a 
great number of gigantic statues, or images, figured of different metals 
by talismanic skiJl, which, in consequence of some occult machinery, 
performed actions of real life, and looked like living men°. We must 

- 'The Arabians call chemiitry, at ' Goweri Confess. Amantutsupr. L.iv. 

treating of minerals and metals^ Simia- fol. liiiiLa. edit. 1554. 

From Sim, a word siffnifyinff the vehis » ^ ^, s. t ^ n . « 

of gold and silyer in tfiTmines. Her- JVJ^t^A^t^'i^! 21^ 

bel5^BibL Orient p. 810. b. Hither, n«!^H^r.i\%*!*f*'LrB!^,„^ 

among many other thing., we might re- Sr^k! ^d ^rJiVL^lt!l 

fer M?rlinWo dragons of gold finished If ^u^f^^^lt^l 

with most exquisite workmanship, in Of such things « ftijfetf, &c 

OeoflFirey of Monmouth, 1. riii. c. 17. See ^ Ch. xxviii. seq. 

also ibid. vii. c. 3. where Merlin pro- > De GesL Reg. Angl. lib. ii. cap. 10. 

phesies that a brasen man on a brasen Compare Mi^. Symbolor. Aoress Mensse, 

horse shall guard the gates of London. lib. x. p. 453. 

^ See Lydgate's Troye Boke, B. It. "* Delrio, Disquis. Magic, lib. i. cap. 4. 

c. 35. And Gower*s Con£ Amant. B. L * Herbelot, BibL Orient. V. Rocaii^ 

f. 13.b.edit 1554. *'A horse of brassethei p. 717. a. 
Ictte do forge." 

174 squire's talb. [sbct. XV. 

add, that astronomy, which the Arabian philosophers studied with a 
gingular enthusiasm, had no small share in the composition of this 
miraculous steed. For, says the poet, 

He that it wrought, he coude many a gin, 
He waited many a constellation 
Or he had don this operation.^ 

Thus the buckler of the Arabian giant Ben Gian, as famous among the 
Orientals as that of Achilles among the Greeks, was fabricated by the 
powers of astronomy p. And Pope Sylvester's brazen head, just men- 
tioned, was prepared under the influence of certain constellations. 

Natural magic, improperly so called, was likewise a favourite pursuit 
of the Arabians, by which they imposed false appearances on the spec- 
tator. This was blended with their astrology. Our author's Fran- 
kelein's Tale is entirely founded on the miracles of this art 

For I am siker^ that ther be sciences. 
By which men maken divers appearances, 
Swiche as thise subtil tregetoures' play : 
For oft at festes, have I wel herd say. 
That tregetoures, within an halld large, ^ 
Have made come in a watir and a barge, 
And in the halld rowen up and doun : 
Somtime hath semid come a grim leoun. 
And somtime floures spring as in a mede ; 
Somtime a vine, and grapes white and rede; 
Somtime a castel, &c.* 

Afterwards a magician in the same poem shows various specimens of 
his art in rabing such illusions : and by way of diverting king Aure- 
lius before supper, presents before him parks and forests filled with deer 
of vast proportion, some of which are killed with hounds and others 
with arrows. He then shows the king a beautiful lady in a dance. At 
the clapping of the magician's hands all these deceptions disappear ^ 

" V. 149. I do not precisely under- will and drew from them the information 
stand the line immediately following : required. See Herbelot, Diet Orient. 
A«^ ir««» r«i «-«„ - .-1* ^^A ^-«„ « p. 810. 1005. The curious and more in- 
bond ^ ^^"»*^^* '•«*^«' '"•y ^*^"*"^* CorneUu. 

Agrippa, De Vanit Scient. cap. xliv. xlv. 

Sele, i. e. Seal, may mean a talismanic xlvi. 

sigil used in astrology. Or the Herme- ' Many mysteries were concealed in 

tic seal used in chemistry. Or, connected the composition of this shield. It de- 

with Bondf may signify contracts made stroyed all the charms and enchantments 

with spirits in chemical operations. But which either demons or gianU could make 

all these belong to the Arabian philoso- by^o€/icor magic art. Herbelot, ubisupr. 

phy, and are alike to our purpose. In the V. Gian. p. 396. a. 

Arabian books now extant, are the alpha- * sure. 'Juglers. 

bets out of which they formed Talismans ' v. 2700. Urr. 

to draw down spirits or angels. The ^ But his most capital performance is to 
Arabian word Kimia, not only signifies remove an immense chain of rocks from 
chemistry, but a magical and superstitious the sea-shore : this is done in such a man- 
science, by which they bound spirits to their ner, that for the space of one week, '*it 

SBCT, XV .] SaUIRB's TALB. 1 75 

These feats are said to be performed by consultation of the stars*'. We 
frequently read in romances ^f illusive appearances framed by magi- 
cians^, which by the same powers are made suddenly to vanish. To 
trace the matter home to its true source^ these fictions have their origin 
in a science which professedly made a considerable part of the Arabian 
learning'. In the twelfth century the number of magical and astro- 
logical Arabic books translated into Latin was prodigious 7. Chaucer, 
in the fiction before us, supposes that some of the guests in Cambus- 
can's hall believed the Trojan horse to be a temporary illusion, efiected 
by the power of magic*. 

An apparence ymade by som magike, 
As jogelours plain at thise festes grete*. 
In speaking of the metallurgy of the Arabians, I must not omit the 
sublime imagination of Spenser, or rather some British bard, who feigns 
that the magician Merlin intended to build a wall of brass about Cair- 
mardin, or Carmarthen ; but that being hastily called away by the Lady 
of the Lake, and slain by her perfidy, he has left his fiends still at 
work on this jnighty structure round their brazen cauldrons, under a 
rock among the neighbouring woody clifis of Dynevaur, who dare not 
desist till their master returns. At this day, says the poet, if you listen 
at a chink or cleft of the rock, 

■'- ' ■ Such gastly noyse of yron chaines 

And brasen cauldrons thou shalt rombling heare, 

semid all the rockis were away." Ibid. ^ See what is said of Spenser's Falae 
2849. By the way, this tale appears to Florimel, Obs. Spens. § xi. p. 123. 
be a translation. He says, ** As the boke * Herbelot mentions many oriental 
doth me remember." v. 2799. And "From pieces, *'Qui traittent de cette art perni- 
Garumne to the month of Seine." v. 2778. cieux et defendu." Diet Orient. V. Schb. 
The Caroline and Seine are rivers in Compare Agrippa, nbi supr. cap. xlii. seq. 
France. ^ *' Irrepsit hac state etiam turba as- 
* See FrankeL T. y^820. p. 111. Urr. trologorum et Magorum,ejus farinoe libris 
The Christians called this one of the dia- una cum aliis de Arabico in Latinum con- 
bolical arts of the Saracens or Arabians ; versis." Conring. Script Comment Ssec. 
and many of their own philosophers, who xiii. cap. 3. p. 125. . See also Herbetot, 
afterwards wrote on the subject, or per- Bibl. Orient V. Ketab. passim, 
formed experiments on its principles, were * John of Salisbury says, that magicians 
said Co deal with the devil. Witness our are those whO| among other deception!, 
Bacon, &c. From Sir John Maundeville's " Rebus adimunt species suas." Poly- 
Travels it appears, that these sciences were crat i. 10. fol. 10. b. Agrippa mentions 
in high request in the court of the Cham one Pasetes a jugler, who "was wont to 
of Tartary about the year 1340. He says, . shewe to strangers a very sumptuouse 
that, at a great festival, on one side of die banket, and when it pleased him, to cause 
Emperor's table, he saw placed many phi- it vanishe awaye, al they which sate at 
losophers skilled in various sciences, such the table being disapointed both of meate 
as astronomy, necromancy, geometry, and and drinke,*' &c. Van. Scient. cap. xlviii. 
pyromancy : that some of these had be- p. 62. b. Engl. Transl. ut infr. Du Halde 
fore them astrolabes of gold and precious mentions a Chinese enchanter, who, when 
stones, others had horologes richly fur- the Emperour was inconsolable for the 
nished, with many other mathemadcalin- loss of his deceased queen, caused her 
struments, &c. chap. Ixxi. Sir John Maun • image to appear before him. Hist Chin. iij. 
deville began his travels into the East in § iv. See the deceptions of Hakem an 
1322, and finished his book in 1364. chap. Arabian jugler in Herbelot, in V. p. 412. 
dx. See Johannes Sarisb. Folycrat L. i. See supr. p. 168. 169. 
cap. xi. fol. 10. b. » V. 238. 

176 SQUIRB's tale. [sBCT. XV. 

Which ihouBand sprights with long enduring paines 
Do toflse, that it will stann thy feeble braines. 
And oftentimes great grones and grievous stowndes 
When too huge toile and labour them constraines, 
And oftentimes loud strokes and ringing sowndes 
From under that deeperocke most horribly rebbundes. 

The cause some say is this : a little while 
Before that Merlin dyde, he dyd intend 
A BRASBN WALL in compassc to compyle 
About Cairmardin, and did it commend 
Unto those sprights to bring to perfect end : 
During which work the Lady of the Lake, 
Whom long he lovd, for him in haste did send, 
Who therby forst his workemen to forsake, 
Them bounde, till his retume, their labour not to slake. 


In the mean time, through that false ladies traine, 

He was surprizd, and buried under beare, 

Ne ever to his work retumd againe : 

Nathlesse those feends may not their worke forbeare, 

So greately his commandement they feare, 

But there do toyle and travayle night and day, 

Until that brasbn wall they up do reared 

This story Spenser borrowed from Giraldus Cambrensis, who during 
his progress through Wales, in the twelfth century, picked it up among 
other romantic traditions propagated by the British bards*. I have 
before pointed out the source from which the British bards received 
most of their extravagant fictions. 

Optics were likewise a branch of study which suited the natural ge- 
nius of the Arabian philosophers, and which they pursued with incre- 
dible delight. This science was a part of the Aristotelic philosophy ; 
which, as I have before observed, they refined and filled with a thou- 
sand extravagances. Hence our strange knight's Mirror of Glass, 
prepared on the most profound principles of art, and endued with pre- 
ternatural qualities. 

And som of hem wondred on the mirrour. 
That bom was up into the maister tour : 
How men mighte in it swiche thinges see. 
An other answered and sayd, It might wel be 

^ Fairy Queen, iii. 3. 9 teq. tion» which he relates somewhat dilftr- 

* See Girald. Cambrens. Idn. Cambr. ently. Polyolb. lib. iv. p. 62. edit. 1613. 

i. c. 6. Hollinsh. Hist i. 129. And Cam- Hence Bacon's wall of brastf about Eng- 

den's Brit p. 734. Drayton has this fie- land. 

5BCT. XV.] BQriRB's TALE. 177 

Naturdly by compositions 

Of angles, and of slie reflections : 

And saide, that in Rome was swiche one, 

They speke of Alhazen ^d Vitellon, 

And Aristotle, that writen in hir lives 

Of queinte mirrours, and of prospbctives^. 

And again. 

This mirrour eke that I have in min hond, 
Hath swiche a might, that men may in it se 
Whan ther shal faile ony adversitee 
Unto your regne, Ac* 

Alcen, or Alhazen, mentioned in these lines, an Arabic philosopher, 
wrote seven books of perspective, and flourished about the eleventh 
century. Vitellio, formed on the same school, was likewise an eminent 
mathematician of the middle ages, and wrote ten books of Perspective. 
The Roman mirrour here nientioned by Chaucer, as similar to this of 
the strange knight, is thus described by Gower. 

When Rome stoode in noble plite 
Virgile, which was the parfite, 
A mirrour made of his clergie' 
And sette it in the townes eie 
Of marbre on a pillar without. 
That thei be thyrte mile aboute 
By dale and eke also bi night 
In that mirrour behold might 
Her enemies if any were, &c.« 

The Oriental writers relate, that Giamschid, one of their kings, the 
Solomon of the Persians and their Alexander the Great, possessed, 
among his inestimable treasures, cups, globes, and mirrours, of metal, 
glass, and crystal, by means of which he and his people knew all natu- 
ral as well as supernatural things. A title of an Arabian book, trans- 
lated from the Persian, is, ** The Mirrour which reflects the World." 
There is this passage in an antient Turkish poet, ^ When I am purified 
by the light of heaven my soul will become the mirrour of the worldy 
in which I shall discern all abstruse secrets" Monsieur THerbelot is of 
opinion that the Orientals took these notions from the patriarch Joseph s 

^ V. 244. having such vertue, that if it happened 

* ▼. 153. " that any sbippes came to hannci the dtie 

' learning; philosophy. suddenly, their army and their cominff 

[The same Bction is in Cazton's Troye should appear in the aaid looking-glasie.*^ 

Boke. " Upon the pinade or top of the B. ii. ch. zxIL^Additions.] 

towre he made an ymage of copper and * ' Confess. Amant 1. t. foL xdv. 6. cditi 

gave hym in his hande a loofciog-glaise, Berth. Id54. ut supr. 


178 squire's tale. [sect. XT. 

cup of divination, and Nestor's cup in Homer, on which all nature was 
symbolically represented^. Our great countryman Roger Bacon, in his 
Opus Ma jus, a work entirely formed on the Aristotelic and Arabian 
philosophy, describes a variety of Specula, and explains their construc- 
tion and uses*. This is the most curious and extraordinary part of 
Bacon's book, which was written about the year 1270. Bacon's optic 
tube, with which he pretended to see future events^ was famous in his 
age, and long afterwards, and chiefly contributed to give him the name 
of a magician^. This art, with others of the experimental kind, the 
philosophers of those times were fond of adapting to the purposes of 
thaumaturgy ; and there is much occult and chimerical speculation in 
the discoveries which Bacon affects to have made from optical experi* 
ments. He asserts, and I am obliged to cite the passage in his own 
mysterious expressions, '< Omnia sciri per Perspectivam, quoniam om* 
nes actiones rerum fiunt secundum specierum et virtutum multiplica- 
tionem ab agentibus hujus mundi in materias patientes," &g.\ Spenser 
feigns, that the magician Merlin made a glassie ghbe^ and presented it 
to king Ryence, which showed the approach of enemies, and discovered 
treasons "^^ This Action, whioh exactly corresponds with Chaucer's 
Mirrour, Spenser borrowed from some romance, perhaps of king Arthur, 
fraught with Oriental fancy. From the same sources came a like fiction 
of Camoens, in the Lusiad,°, where a globe is shown to Vasco de Gama, 
representing the universal fabric or system of the world, in which he 
sees future kingdoms and future events. The Spanish historians report 
an American tradition, but more probably invented by themselves, and 
built on the Saracen fables, in which they were so' conversant. They 
pretend that some years before the Spaniards entered Mexico, the in- 
habitants caught a monstrous fowl, of unusual magnitude and shape, on 
the lake of Mexico. In the crown of the head of this wonderful bird 
there was a mirrour or plate of glass, in which the Mexicans saw their 
future invaders the Spaniards, and all the disasters which afterwards 
happened to their kingdom. These superstitions remained, even in the 
doctrines of philosophers, long after the darker ages. Cornelius Agrippa, 
a learned physician of Cologne, about the year 1 520, author of a famous 
book on the Vanity of the Sciences, mentions a species of mirrour which 

^ Herbelot. DicL Oriental. V. Giam. ii. MSS. Bibl. Coll. Univ. Oxon. c 20. In 

p. 392. col. 2. John of Salisbury men- another he affirms, that Julius Cesar, be- 

tions a species of diviners called Specu- fore he invaded Britain, viewed our har- 

LARii, who predicted future events, and hours and shores with a telescope from the 

told various secrets, by consulting mir- Gallic coast MSS. lib. De Perspectivis. 

rours, and the surfaces of other polished He accurately describes reading-glasses or 

reflecting substances. Polycrati. 12. pag. tpeetaeles. Op. Miy. p. 236. And the Ca- 

32. edit. 1595. mera Obscura, I believe, is one of his dis- 

* Edit Jebb. p. 253. Bacon, in one of coveries. 

his manuscripts, complains, that no person ^ Wood, Hist Antiquit. Univ. Oxon. i, 

read lectures in Oxford De Perspecdva, 122. 

before the year 1267. He adds, that in > Op. Min. MSS. ut ropr. 

the university of Paris, this sdence was " Fairy Queen, liL iL 21. 

quite unknown. la Epist ad Opus Minu^ * Cant z. 
Cltmtnti IV. Et ibid. Op. Miu. Ki. cap. 

SXGT. XV.] squire's TALX. 179 

exhibited the form of persons absent^ at command^. In one of these 
he is said to have shown to the poetical earl of Surry, the image of 
his mistress, the beautiful Geraldine, sick and reposing on a couch p. 
Neailj allied to this, was the infatuation of seeing things in a beryl, 
which was very popular in the reign of James the First, and is alluded 
to by Shakespeare. The Arabians were also famous for other ma- 
chineries of glass, in which their chemistry was more immediately con- 
cerned. The philosophers of their school invented a story of a magical 
steel-glass, placed by Ptolemy on the summit of a lofty pillar near the 
city of Alexandria, for burning ships at a distance. The Arabians called 
this pilUir HemadeslaeoTy or the Pillar of the Arabians^. J think it is 
mentioned by Sandys. Roger Bacon has left a manuscript tract on the 
formation of burning-glasses'^; and he relates that the first burning- 
glass which he constructed cost him sixty pounds of Parisian money'. 
Ptolemy, who seems to have been confounded with Ptolemy the Egyp- 
tian astrologer and geographer, was famous among the Eastern writers 
and their followers for his skill in operations of glass. Spenser men- 
tions a miraculous tower of glass built by Ptolemy» which concealed his 
mistress the Egyptian Phao, while the invisible inhabitant viewed all 
the world from every part of it. 

Great Ptolomee it for his leman's sake 
Ybuilded all of glass by magicke power, 
And also it impregnable did make^ 

But this magical fortress, although impregnable, was easily broken in 
pieces at one stroke by the builder, when his mistress ceased to love. 
One of Boyardo's extravagances is a prodigious wall of glass built by 
some magician in Africa, which obviously betrays its foundation in 
Arabian fable and Arabian philosophy °. 

* It is diverting In this book to observe Eastern romance, called the Seven Wise 
the infancy of experimental philosophy, Masters, of which more will be said here- 
and their want of knowing how to use or after, at the siege of Hur in Persia, certain 
apply the mechanical arts which they were philosophers terrified the enemy by a de- 
even actually possessed of. Agrippa calls vice of placing a habit (says an old Eng- 
the inventor of magnifying glasses, " with- lish translation) " of a giant-like propor- 
outdoubte the beginner of all dishonestie." tion, on a tower, and covering it with burn- 
He mentions various sorts of diminishing, ing-glasses, looking-glasses of cristall, and 
burning, reflecting, and multiplying glass- other glasses of several colours, wrought 
es, with some others. At length this pro- together in a marvellous order,*' &c. eh. 
found thinker closes the chapter with this xvii. p. 182. edit 1674. The ConsUnti- 
sage reflection : ** All these ihinges are nopolitan Greeks possessed these arts in 
value and superfluous, and invented to no common with the Arabians. See Moriso- 
other end but for porope and idle plea- tus, ii. 3, who says, that in the year 751, 
sure !" Chap. zzvi. p. 36. A translation they set Are to the Saracen fleet before Con- 
by James Sandford. Lond. 1569. 4tb. Bl. stantinople by means of burning-glasses. 
Let ^ ' MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Digb. 183. And 

' Drayton's Heroical Epist p. 87. b. Arch. A. 149. But I think it was printed 

edit 1598. at Francfort, 1614. 4to. 

^ The same &blers have adapted a si- * Twenty pounds sterling. Compend. 

milar fiction to Hercules : that he erected Stud. Theol. c. i. p. 5. MS. 
pillara at Cape Finesterre, on which he * Fairy Queen, ilL ii. 20. 

raised magical looking-glasses. In an '* Hither we might also refer Chaucer'a 

K 2 

180 SQUIRR's TALB. [sftCT. XV. 

The Naked Sword, another of the gifts presented by the Btrange 
knight to Cambuscan, endued with medical virtues, and so hard as to 
pierce the most solid armour, is likewise an Arabian idea. It was sug- 
gested by their skill in medicine, by which they affected to communi- 
cate healing qualities to various substances^, and Irom their knowledge 
of tempering iron and hardening all kinds of metal \ It is the classi- 
cal spear of Peleus, perhaps originally fabricated in the same regions of 

And other folk han wondred on the Swerd, 

That wolde percen thurghout every thing ; 

And fell in speche of Telephus the king, 

And of Achilles for his qeintd spere 

For he coudc with it bothd hele and dere^ 

Right in swiche wise as men may with the swerd. 

Of which right now ye have yourselven herd. 

Thei speken of sondry harding of metall 

And speken of medicines therwithall, 

And how and whan it shul dyharded be, &c.» 

The sword which Berni in the Orlando Innamorato gives to the 
hero Ruggiero, is tempered by much the same sort of magic. 

Quel brando con tal tcmpra fabbricato, 
Che taglia incanto ad ogni fatatura.* 

So also his continuator Ari^sto, 

Non vale incanto, ov'elle mette il taglio.^ 

And the notion that this weapon could resist all incantations, is like 
the fiction above mentioned of the buckler of the Arabian giant Ben 
Gian, which baffled the force of charms and enchantments made by 
giants or demons ^ Spenser has a sword endued with the Sfone effi- 
cacy, the metal of which the magician Merlin mixed with the juice of 
meadow-wort, that it might be proof against enchantment; and after- 
wards, having forged the blade in the flames of Etna^ he gave it hidden 
virtue by dipping it seven times in the bitter waters of Styx^. From 

House of Famei which is built of glas*, ' Montiauoon cites a Greek chemist of 

and Lydgate's Temple of Glass. It is said the dark ages, "Chribtiani Labtrin- 

in some romances written about the time thus Salomonis, de temperando ferro, 

of the Crusades, that the city of Damascus conficiendo crystallo, et de aliis naturse 

was walled with glass. See Hairs Virgi- arcanis." Palaeogr. Or. p. 375. 

dem. or Satyres, &c. B. iv. S. 6. written ^ hurt ; wound, 

in 1597. ' ▼. 256. 

^ ^«, .. 1, r 1 ■ OrL Innam. ii. 17. St 13. 

Or of Damascus magicke wall of glasse, b Orl Fur xii 83 

Or Solomon his sweating piles of brasse, &c. c ^la'adia de Gaul [Oreece.-.RiT80H.] 

^ The notion, mentioned before, that has such a sword. See Don Quixote B.Ui. 

every stoac of Stone-henge was washed Ch. it. 

with juices of lierbs in Africa, and tine- * Fairy Queen, li. Yiii. 20. See alto 

tared with healing powers, is a piece of Ariost. zix. 84. 
the same philosophy. ^ 


the same origin is also the golden lance of Berni, which Galafron king 
of Cathaia, father of. the beautiful Angelica and the invinciUe cham- 
pion Alalia, procured for his son by the help of a magician. This 
lance was of such irresistible power, tiiat it unhorsed a knight the in- 
stant he was touched with its point 

Una lancia d'oro, 

Fatto con arte, e con sottil lavoro. ' 
E quella lancia di natura tale, 
Che resister non puossi alia sua spinta ; 
Forza, o destrezza contra lei non vale, 
Convien che Tuna, e I'altra resti vinta : 
Incanto, a cui non ^ nel mondo eguale, 
Llia di tanta possanza intorno cinta, 
Che nd il conte di Brava, ni Rinaldo, 
Ne il mondo al colpo suo starebbe saldo.* 

Britomart in Spenser is armed with the same enchanted spear, which 
was made by Bladud an antient British king skilled in magic 'I 

The Ring, a gift to the king*s daughter Canuce, which taught the 
language of birds, is also quite in the style of some others of the occult 
sciences of these inventive philosophers': and it is the fashion of the 
Oriental fabulists to give language to brutes in general. But to un- 
derstand the language of birds was peculiarly one of the boasted sci- 
ences of the Arabians ; who pretend that many of their countrymen 
have been skilled in the knowledge of the language of birds, ever since 
the time of king Solomon. Their writers relate, that Balkis the queen 
of Sheba, or Saba, had a bird called Hudhud^ that is, a lapwing, which 
she dispatched to king Solomon on various occasions ; and that this 
trusty bird was the messenger of their amours. We are told, that 
Solomon having been secretly informed by this winged confident, that 
Balkis intended to honour him with a grand embassy, enclosed a spa- 
cious square with a wall of gold and silver bricks, in which he ranged 
his numerous troops and attendants in order to receive the embassadors, 
who were astonished at the suddenness of these splendid and unex- 
pected preparations^. Monsieur THerbelot tells a curious story of an 
Arab feeding his camels in a solitary wilderness, who was accosted for 
a draught of water by Alhejaj a famous Arabian conmiander, and who 
had been separated from his retinue in hunting. While they were talk- 
ing together, a bird Hew over their heads, making at the same time an 

* OrL InnanL i. i. st 43. See also, i. ii. gontina vanish at Angelica's ring of vii 

st.20,&c. AndAriMto,viii. 17. xviii.118. tue. 

xziii. 15. ^ Heifbelot. Diet Oriental. V. Balkis, 

' Fairy aueen, iii. 3. 60. iv. 6. 6. iii. p. 182. 

1. 4. [Mabomet believed this foolish story, at 

■ Rings are a frequent implement in least thought it fit for a popular book, and 

romantic enchantment. Among a thou- has therefore inserted it in the Alcoran. 

sand instances, see Orland. Innam. i. 14: See Grey on Hudibras, part i. cant i. v. 547. 

where the palace and gardens of Dra- — Adpitioms.] 


unusual sort of noise ; which the camel-feeder hearing, looked stead- 
fastly on Alhejaj, and demanded who he was. Alhejaj, not choosing 
to return him a direct answer, desired to know the reason of that ques- 
tion. " Because," replied the camel-feeder, "this bird assured me, that 
a company of people is coming this way, and that you are the chief of 
them." While he was speaking, Alhejaj's attendants arrived *- 

This wonderful ring also imparted to the wearer a knowledge of the 
qualities of plants, which formed an important part of the Arabian phi- 

The vertue of this ring if ye wol here 
Is this, that if hire list it for to were. 
Upon hire thomb, or in hire purse it here, 
Ther is no foule that fleeth under heven 
That she ne shal wel understond his steven^ 
And know his mening openly and plaine, 
And answere him in his langage againe. 
And every gras that groweth upon rote, 
She shal eke know, and whom it wol do bote : 
All be his woundes never so depe and wide.™ 

Every reader of taste and imagination must regret, that instead of 
our author's tedious detail of the quaint effects of Canace's ring, in 
which a falcon relates her amours, and talks familiarly of Troilus, Paris, 
and Jason, the notable achievements we may suppose to have been per- 
formed by the assistance of the horse of brass, are either lost, or that 
this part of the story, by far the most interesting, wajs never written. 
After the strange knight has explained to Cambuscan the management 
of this magical courser, he vanishes on a sudden, and we hear no more 
of him. 

At after souper goth this noble king 

To seen this Hors of Bras, with all a route 

Of lordes and of ladies him aboute : 

Swiche wondring was ther on this Hors of Bras°, 

That sin the gret assege of Troyd was, 

1 See Herbel. ubi supr. V. Hegiage Ebn that valorous knight carried off the &ir 

Yusef Al Thakefi. p. 442. This Arabian Magalona. From what romance Cenrantes 

commander was of the eighth century. In took this I do not recollect : but the reader 

the Seven Wise Masters, one of the tales is sees its correspondence with the fiction of 

founded on the language of birds. Ch.xn. Chaucer's horse, and will refer it to the 

^ See what is said of this in the Disser- same original. Se,e Don Quixote, B. iii. 

tations. ch. 8. We have the same thing in Valen- 

1 language. "* v. 166. tine and Orson, ch. xxzi. [The romance 

" Cervantes mentions a horse of wood, alluded to by Cervantes, is entitled ** La 

which, like this of Chaucer, on turning a pin Historia de la linda Magalona h^a del rey 

in his forehead, carried his rider through de Napoles y de Pierres de Proven^a,'' 

the air. [A similar fiction occurs in the printed at Seville 1533, and is a transla- 

Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and must tion from a much more ancient and very 

be in the recollection of every reader.] celebrated French romance vnder a simi- 

This hone, Cervantes adds, was made by lar title. — Ritsoh.] The French romance 

Merlin for Peter of Provence ; with wluch is confessedly but a translation : "*< Ordon* 


Ther as men wondred on an hon also, 
Ne was ther swiche a wondring as was tho^ 
But finally the king asketh the knight 
The vertue of his courser and the might ; 
And praied him to tell his govemaunce : 
The hors anon gan for to trip and daunce, 
Whan that the knight laid hond upon his reine^-— 
Enfourmed whan the king was of the knight, 
And hath conceived in his wit aright, 
The maner and the forme of all this thing, 
Ful glad and blith, this noble doughty king 
Repaireth to his revel as befome : 
The brydel is into the Toure ybome*, 
« And kept among his jewels p lefe and dere: 
The horse vanisht : I n*ot in what manere.* 

By such inventions we are willing to be deceived. These are the 
triumphs of deception over truth. 

Magnanima mensogna, hor quando ^ al vero 
Si bello, che si possa k te preporre ? 

The Clbrkb of Oxenfordes Tale, or the story of Patient Gri- 
silde, is the next of Chaucer^s Tales in the serious style which deserves 
mention. The Gierke declares in his Prologue, that he learned this 
tale of Petrarch at Padua. But it was the invention of Boccacio, and 
Is the last in his Decameron'. Petrarch, although most intimately 
connected with Boccacio for near thirty years, never had seen the De- 
cameron till just before his death. It accidentally fell into his hands, 
while he resided at Arque between Venice and Padua, in the year one 
thousand three hundred and seventy-four. The tale of Grisilde struck 
him the most of any : so much, that he got it by heart to relate it to 

n6e en cestui languaige . . . et fut mis en caribus." Oalfr. Vinesauf. Iter. Hierosol. 

cestui languaige Tan mil cccclvii." A cap. xli. p. 328. Vet. Script Angl. torn. ii. 

FroTen^al romance on this subject, doubt- »~Addition8.] 
lessly the original, was written by Bernard ' JocaHa ; precious things, 

de Treviez, a Canon of Maguelone, before ^ v. 322 seq. 355 seq. 

the close of the twelfth century. See Ro- ' Giorn. z. Nov. 10. Dry den, in thesu- 

qnefort, Poesies des Troubadours, vol. ii. perftcial but lively Pre&ce to his Fables, 

p. 317. [On the authority of Gariel's says, «The Tale of Grisilde was the in- 

** Id^ de la ville de Montpelier/' Petrarch vention of Petrarch : by him sent to Boc- 

is stated to have corrected and embellished cace, from whom it came to Chaucer.'' 
this romance. — Price.] [It may be doubted whether Boccacio 

** then. invented the story of Grisilde. For, as the 

* [The bridle of the enchanted horse is late inquisitive and judidoos editor of the 

carried into the tower, which was the trea- Canterbury Tales observes, it appears by 

sury of Cambuscan's castle, to be kept a Letter of Petrarch to Boccado, fOpp. 

among the jewels. Thus when king Ri- Petrarch, p. 540 — 7. edit.BasiL1581.J sent 

chard the First, in a crusade, took Cyprus, with his Latin translation, in 1378, that 

among the treasures in the castles are re- Petrarch had heard the ttory with plea» 

cited predous stones, and golden cups, to- tfwre, many years before he saw the Dt- 

fether with **Seilit aureit frenis et eai- cameron. vol. iv. p. 157.^Additioks.] 


his friends at Padua. Finding that it was the most popular of all Boc- 
cacio's tales, for the benefit of those who did not understand Italian, 
and to spread its circulation, he translated it into Latin with some alte- 
rations. Petrarch relates this in a letter to Boccacio ; and adds, that 
on showing the translation to one of hb Paduan friends, the latter, 
touched with the tenderness of the story, burst into such frequent and 
violent fits of tears, that he could not read to the end. In the same 
letter he says, that a Veronese having heard of the Paduan's exquisite- 
ness of feeling on this occasion, resolved to try the experiment. He 
read the whole aloud from the beginning to the end, without the least 
change of voice or countenance ; but on returning the book to Pe- 
trarch, confessed that it was an affecting story : *< I should have wept," 
added he, '* like the Paduan, had I thought the story true. But the 
whole is a manifest fiction. There never was, nor ever will be, such a 
wife as Grisilde'." Chaucer, as our Gierke's declaration in the Pro- 
logue seems to imply, received this tale from Petrarch, and not from 
Boccacio : and I am inclined to think, that he did not take it from Pe- 
trarch's Latin translation, but that he was one of those friends to whom 
Petrarch used to relate it at Padua. This too seems sufficiently pointed 
out in the words of the Prologue. 

I wol you tell a tald which that I 
Lemed at Padowe of a worthy clerk :— 
Fraunceis Petrark, the laureat poete, 
Highte this clerke, whos rhetorik swete 
Enlumined all Itaille of poetrie.* 

Chaucer's tale is also much longer, and more circumstandal, than 
Boccacio's. Petrarch's Latin translation from Boccacio was never 
printed. It is in the royal library at Paris, in that of Magdalene col- 
lege at Oxford'", and in Bennet college library, with this title : " His- 
TORiA sive Fabula de nobili Marchione Walterio domino terne Sa- 
luciarum, quomodo duxit in uxorem Grisildem pauperculam, et ejus 
constantiam et patientiam mirabiliter et acriter comprobavit : quam de 
vulgari sermone Saluciarum in Latinum transtulit D. Franciscus Pe- 

' Vie de Petrarch, iit 797. terii Marchionis et Griaeldis uzoris ejua." 

« V. 1057. p. 96. Urr. Afterwards Pe- 8 B. vi. 17. 

trarch is mentioned as dead. He died of [The "Vita Grisildis" and <'Epiftola,*' 

an apoplexy, Jul. 18, 1374. See v. 2168. cited hy Rawltnson, are the same work 

■ Via. " Vito Grisildis per Fr. Petrarch- which was printed at Ulm in 1473 by John 

am de vulgari in Latinam linguam tra- Leiner de Reutlingen. See Panser Annal. 

ducta." But Rawlinson cites, " Epistola Typogr.ii.529. Other copies without date 

Francisd Petrarchse de insigni obedientia were published at a very early period. — 

et fide uxoria Griseldis in Walthenim Ulme, Park.] 

impress." per me R A.D. 18a3. MS. • [cLXXVii. 10. fol. 76. Again, ibid. 

Not. in Mattairii Typogr. Hist. i. i. p. 104. cclxxv. 14. fol. 163. Again, ibid. 
In B\bl. Bodl. Oxon. Among the royal cccctviii. 3. with the date 1476, I sup- 
ma nuscripu in the British Museum, there pobe, from the scribe. And in Bibl. Bodl. 
is, " Fr. Petrarcha; super Historiam Wal- MSS. l^ud. G. 80. — Additions.] 




The story soon became so popular in France, that the comedians of 
Paris represented a Mystery in French verse entitled Le MyStere de 
Griseildis Marquis db Saluces, in the year 1393^. Lydgate, al- 
most Chaucer's cotemporary, in his manuscript poem entitled the Tem- 
ple OF Glass ^ among the celebrated lovers painted on the walls of 
the temple^, mentions Dido, Medea and Jason, Penelope, Alcestis, 
Patient Grisilde, Bel Isoulde and Sir Tristram*, Pyramus and 
Thisbe,' Theseus, Lucretia, Canace, Palamon and Emilia ^ 

The pathos of this poem, which is indeed exquisite, chiefly consists 
in invention of incidents, and the contrivance of the story, which can- 
not conveniently be developed in this place : and it will be impossible 
to g^ve any idea of its essential excellence by exhibiting detached parts. 
The versification is equal to the rest of our author's poetry. 

^ It wu many years afterwards printed 
at Paris, by Jean Bonnefons. [This is 
the whole title: "Le Mtstere de Gri- 
•eldis, Marquis de Saluces, liiis en rime 
Frangoise et par person naiges." Without 
date, in quarto, and in the Gothic type. 
In the colophon, CyfinUt la vie de Gri' 
MeUit, &c.— ^Additions.] The writers of 
the French stage do not mention this 
piece. See p. 28. Their first theatre is 
that of Saint Maur, and^ iu commence- 
ment is placed five years later, in the year 
1398. Afterwards Apostolo Zeno wrote 
a theatrical piece on this subject in Italy. 
I need not mention that it is to this day 
represented in England, on a stage of the 
lowest species, and of the highest anti- 
quity: I mean at a puppet-show. The 
French have this story in their Parement 
de* Dames, See Mem. Lit Tom. ii. p. 743. 

' And in a Balade^ translated by Lyd- 
gate from the Latin, " Grisilde's humble 
patience*' is recorded. Urr. Ch. p. 550. 
▼. 108. 

y There is a more curious mixture In 
Chaucer's Balade to King Henry IV. 
where Alexander, Hector, Julius Cesar, 
Judas Maccabeus, David, Joshua, Charle- 
magne, Godfrey of Bulloign, and king 
Arthur, are all thrown together as autient 
heroes, v. 281. seq. [These are the nine 
worthies. The balade is Gower's. — Rit- 
toN.] But it is to be observed, that the 

French had a metrical romance called 
Judas Macchabee begun by Gualtier de 
Belleperche, before 1240. It was finished 
a few years afterwards by Pierrosdu Reix. 
Fauch. p. 197. See also Lydgate, Urr. 
Chauc. p. 550. ▼. 89. M. de la Curne de 
Sainte Palaye has given us an extract of 
an old Provencial poem, in which, among 
heroes of love and gallantry, are enume- 
rated Paris, Sir Tristram, Ivaine the in- 
ventor of gloves and other articles of ele- 
gance in dress, Apollonius of Tyre, and 
king Arthur. Mem. Cbev. Extr. de Poes. 
Prov.ii. p. 154. In a French romance, 
Le Uvre de cuer d*amour espris, written 
1457, the author introduces the blasoning 
of the arms of several celebrated lovers ; 
among which are king David, Nero, Mark 
Antony, Theseus, Hercules, Eneas, Sir 
Lancelot, Sir Tristram, Arthur duke of 
Bretagne, Gaston du Foiz, many French 
dukes, &c. Mem. Lit viii. p. 592. edit. 4to. 
The chevalier Bayard, who died about the 
year 1524, is compared to Scipio, Hanni. 
bal, Theseus, king David, Samson, Judas 
Maccabeus, Orlando, Godfrey of Bulloign, 
and monsieur de Palisse, marshal of 
France. La Vie et les Oestes du preux 
Chevalier Bayardf &c. Printed 1525. 

* From Morte Arthur. They are men- 
tioned in Chaucer's Assemblie of Fowles, 
V. 290. See also Compl. BI. Kn. v. 367. 

■ MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Fairfax. 16. 



Chawser continued. Tale of the Nun's Priest. Its Origin and Allu- 
sions. January and Maj/. Its Imitations. Licentiousness of Boe» 
cado. Miller* s Tale. Its singular Humour and Ridiculous Cha- 
racters. Other Tales of the Comic Species. Their Origin^ AUu- 
sUmSy and Respective Merits. Rime of Sir Thopas. Its Design and 

;^Thb Tale of the Nonkes Priest is perhaps a'story of English growth. 
The story of the cock and the fox is evidently borrowed from a col- 
lection of Esopean and other fables, written by Marie a French poetess, 
whose Lais are preserved in MSS. Harl^ Beside the absolute re- 
semblance, it appears still more probable that Chaucer copied from 
Marie, because no such fable is to be found either in the Greek Esop, 
or in any of the Latin Esopean compilations of the dark agesf. All 
the manuscripts of Marie's fables in the British Museum prove, that she 
translated her work *<de TAnglois en Roman." Probably her English 
original was Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of Esop modernised, and 
still bearing his name. She professes to follow the version of a king; 
who, in the best of the Harleian copies, is called Li reis Alured^. 
She appears, from passages in her Lais, to have understood English §• 
I will give her Epilogue to the Fables from MSS. James, viii. p. 2S. 

Al finement de cest escrit 

Qu'en romanz ai treite e dit 

Me numerai pour remembraunce 
^ Marie ai nun sui de France 

Pur eel estre que clerc plusur 

Prendreient sur eus mun labeur 

Ne voit que nul sur li sa die 

Eil feit que fol que sei ublie 

Pur amur le cunte Wllame 

Le plus vaillant de nul realme 

Meinlemir de ceste livre feire 

E des Engleis en romanz treire 

Esop apelum cest livre 

Quil translata e fist escrire 

Del Gru en Latin le tuma 

Le Reiz Alurez que mut lama. 

* [ut infr/tee t 139.] { [See Chaucer's Canterb. Tales, toI. It. 

t fSce MSS. Harl. 978. f. 76.] p. 179.] 

t [MSS. Harl. 978. lupr. citat.] 


Le translata puis en Engleis 
E jeo lai rimee en Franceis 
Si cum jeo poi plus proprement 
Ore pri a dieu omnipotent, &c. 

The figment of Dan BurneU's Ass is taken from a Latin poem en- 
titled Speculum Stultorum% written by Nigellus de Wireker, monk 
and precentor of Canterbury cathedral, a profound theologist, who 
flourished about the year 1200^ The narrative of the two pilgrims is 
borrowed from Valerius Maximus*'. It is also related by Cicero, a less 
known and a less favourite author^. There is much humour in the de- 
scription of the prodigious confusion which happened in the farm-yard 
after the fox had conveyed away the cock. 

• After him they ran, 

And eke with staves many another man. 
Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and Gerlond*, 
And Malkin with her distaf in hire hond. 
Ran cow and calf, and eke the very hogges* — 
The dokes crieden as men wold hem quelle', 
The gees for fere flewen over the trees. 
Out of the hive came the swarme of bees'. 

Even Jack Strawe's insurrection, a recent transaction, was not attended 
with so much noise and disturbance. 

So hidous was the noise, ah BenedicUef 
Certes he Jacke Strawe, and his meine, 
Ne maden never shoutes half so shrille, &c.^ 

The importance and affectation of sagacity with which dame Partlett 
communicates her medical advice, and displays her knowledge in physic, 
is a ridicule on the state of medicine and its professors*. 

In another strain, the cock is thus beautiAilly described, and not 
without some striking and picturesque allusions to the manners of the 

lA cok highte chaunteclere. 

In all the land of crowing n'as his pere. 

His vois was merier than the mery orgon* 

On masse-daids that in the cherches gon. 

• ▼. 14«7. p. 172. Urr. •▼.1100. . . «. . ^ 

* Or John of SalUbury. Printed at * See Val. Max. i. 7. And Cic dc Di- 
Cologn in 1449. Tinft. i. 27. 

[It is entiUed Burhbllvb, ikf€ Specu- • names of dogs. » kilL 

hm ShOtonm, and was written about the « ▼. 1496. 

year 1190. See Leywr. Poet Med. JEvi, * ▼. 1509. This is a proof that tha 

p. 752. It is a common manuscript Bur- Canterbury Tales were not written tiU 

neU \Mti nick-name for Balaam's ass in after the year 1381. 

the Chester Whitsun Plays. MSS. Harl. > ▼. 1070. 

3018.— Additiohs.] ' organ. 


Wei Bikerer ^ was his crowing in his li^e" 

Than is a clok, or any abbey orloge. 

His combe was redder than the fin corall, 
£nbattelled° as it were a castel wall, 
His bill was black and as the jet it shone. 
Like asure were his legges, and his tone^ : 
His nailes whiter than the lilie flour, 
And like the burned gold was his colour.? 

In this poem the fox is compared to the three arch-traitors Judas Is- 
cariot, Virgil's Sinon, and Ganilion who betrayed the Christian army 
under Charlemagne to the Saracens, and is mentioned by archbishop 
Turpin.4 Here also are cited, as writers of high note or authority, 
Cato, Physiologus or Pliny* the elder, Boethius on music, the author 
of the legend of the life of Saint Kenelme, Josephus, the historian of Sir 
Lancelot du Lake, Saint Austin, bishop Bradwardine, Jeffrey Vinesauf 
who wrote a monody in Latin verse on the death of king Richard the 
First, Ecclesiastes, Virgil, and Macrobius. 

Our author's January and May, or the March aunt's Tale, 
seems to be an old Lombard story. But many passages in it are evi- 
dently taken from the Polycraticon of John of Salisbury. De moU$^ 
tits et onerUms conjugiorum secundum Hieronymum et cUios philosophos. 
Et de pemicie lihidinis, Et de tntdieris Ephesina et similium Jide^, 
And by the way, about forty verses belonging to this argument are 
translated from the same chapter of the Polycraticon, in the Wife or 
Bath's Prologue'. In the mean time it is not improbable, that this tale 
might have originally been Oriental. A Persian tale is just published 
which it extremely resembles^ ; and it has much of the allegory of an 
Eastern apologue. 

* clearer, [surer. — Ritson.] ducenda uxore. This piece U in the Bod- 
"* pen ; yard. leian library with a large Gloss. MSS. 
" embattcUed. Digb. 166. ii. 147. Mapes perhaps adopt- 
" toes. ' V.96. ed this name, because one Valerius had 
^ ▼. 1341. See also Monk. T. v. 806. written a treatise on the same subject, in- 

* [Dr. Warton afterwards discovered serted in St. Jerom's works. Some copies 
that bj Physiologus, Florinus was in- of this Prologue, instend of " Valerie and 
tended, and not Pliny ; and has corrected Theopkrcut" read Paraphrast. If that be 
his mistake in Section xxvii. first note ', the true reading, which I do not believe, 
near the commencement.] Chaucer alludes to the gloss above men- 

' L. vili. c. 11. fol. 193 b. edit 1513. tioned. Helowis, cited just afterwards, is 

' Mention is made in this Prologue of the celebrated Eloisa. Trottula is men- 

St Jerom and Theophrast, on that subject, tioned, v. 677. Among the manuseripts of 

V. 671. 674. The author of the Polycra- Merton College in Oxford, is "Trottula 

ticon quotes Theophrastus from Jerom, Mulier Salernitana de passionibus mulie- 

via. " Fertur auctore Hiermimo aureolus rum." There is also exUnt, *' Trottula, 

Theophrasti WbeWuB de non ducenda uz- seupotiusErotismedicimuliebrium liber." 

ore." foi. 194 a. Chaucer likewise, on Basil. 1 586. 4to. See also Montfauc. Catal. 

this occasion, cites Fakrie, v. 671. This MSS. p. 386. And Fabric Bibl. Gr.xiii. 

is not the fkvorite historian of the middle p. 439. 

ages, Valerius Maximus. It is a book * By Mr. Dow, ch. xv. p. 252. 

written by Walter Mapes, archdeacon of [The ludicrous adventure of the Pear 

Oxford, under the assumed name of Vale- Tree, in January and May, is taken from 

rius, entitled ValtriuM ad Rt^num de non a collection of Fables in Latin elegiacs, 


The following description of the wedding^feast of January and May 
is conceived and expressed with a distinguished degree of poetical ele- 

Thus ben they wedded with solempnite. 

And at the feste sitteth he and she, 

With other worthy folk upon the deis": 

Al ful of joye and blisse is the paleis, 

And ful of instruments and of vitaille, 

The most daynteous of all Itaille. 

Before hem stood swiche instruments of soun. 

That Orpheus, ne of Thebes Amphion 

Ne maden never swiche a melodic ; 

At every cours in cam loude minstralcic, 

That never Joab tromped "^, for to here, 

Ne he Theodamas yet half so clere, 

At Thebes, whan the citee was in doute y. 

Bacchus the win hem skinketh' al aboute, 

And Venus laugheth upon every wight, 

For January was become hire knight, 

And wolde bothe assaien his corage 

In libertee and eke in mariage, 

And with hire firebronde in hire hond aboute 

Danceth before the bride and al the route. 

And certainly I dare right wel say this, 

Ymeneus that god of wedding is 

written by one Adolphus in the year 1315. [I apprehend that [dais] originally tig* 
Leyser Hi^t. Poet Med. iBvi, p. 2008. nified the wooden floor [d'ais Fr. de assi- 
The same fable is among the Fables of bus Lat] which was laid at the upper end 
Alphonse, in Caxton's Esop.— Addi- of the hall, as we still see it in college 
T10N8..] halls, &c. That part of the room there- 
" I have explained this word, vol. i. p. 38. fore which was floored with planks, was 
but will here add some new illustrations called tlie dais (the rest being either the 
of it Undoubtedly the high table in a bare ground, or at best paved with stone) ; 
public refectory, as appears from these and being raised above the level of the 
words in Mathew Paris, '* Priore pran- other parts, it was often called the high 
dente ad magnam memsam quam Dais dais. As the principal table was always 
vulgo appellamus." In Vit Abbat S. placed upon a dais, it began very soon, by 
Albani, p. 92. And again the same writer a natural abuse of words, to be called itself 
says, that a cup, with a foot, or stand, was a dais ; and people were said to sit at the 
not permitted in the hall of the monastery, dais, instead of at the table upon the dais, 
" Nisi tantum in ma/ori mens a quam Menage, whose authority seems to have 
Dais appellamus.'* Additam. p. 148. led later antiquaries to interpret dais a 
There is an old French word. Dais, which canopy, has evidently confounded d€is with 
signifies a throne, or canopy, usually £{er«, [which] as he observes, meant pro- 
placed over the head of the principal per- perly the hangings at the back of'the corn- 
son at a magnificent feast Hence it was pany. But as the same hangings were 
transferred to the table at which he sate. often drawn over, so as to form a kind of 
In the antient French Roman de Gariui canopy over their heads, the whole waft 

Au plus haut dais sist roy Anseis. ^*^if f. * ^'t"*""/'! » • 

^ ' ^ " such as Joab never," ace. 

Either at the first table, or, which is much ?^ danger. * fill, pour. 

the same thing, under the highest canopy. 

190 millbr's tale. [skct. xti. 

Saw never his life so meiy a wedded man. 

Hold thou thy pees, thou poet Marcian% 

That writest us that ilke wedding meiy 

Of hire Philologie and him Mercurie, 

And of the songes that the Muses songe ; 

To smal is both thy pen, and eke thy tonge. 

For to descriven of hb manage. 

Whan tendre Youth hath wedded stouping Age^— 

Maius that sit with so benigne a chere 

Hire to behold it semed faerie^ : 

Queue Hester loked never with swiche an eye 

On Assuere, so meke a loke hath she : 

I may you not devise al hire beautee, 

But thus moch of hire beautee tel I may 

That she was like the brighte morwe of May, 

Fulfilled of all beautee and plesance. 

This January is ravished in a trance 

At every time he loketh in hire face. 

But in his herte he gan hire to manace, &c.^ 

Dryden and Pope have modernised the two last-mentioned poems ; 
Dryden the tale of the Nonn£s Priest, and Pope that of January 
and May ; intending perhaps to give patterns of the best of ChSiucer's 
Tales in the comic species. But I am of opinion that the Mii^ler's 
Tale has more true humour than either. Not that I mean to palliate 
the levity of the story, which was most probably chosen by Chaucer iu 
compliance with the prevailing manners of an unpolished age, and 
agreeable to ideas of festivity not always the most delicate and refined. 
Chaucer abounds in liberties of this kind, and this must be his apology. 
So does Boccacio, and perhaps much more, but from a different cause. 
The licentiousness of Boccacio's tales, which he composed per cacciar 
le maUncoUa deUefenUney to amuse the ladies, is to be vindicated, at 
least accounted for, on other principles : it was not so much the conse^ 
quence of popular incivility, as it was owing to a particular event of £he 
writer's age. Just before Boccacio wrote, the plague at Florence had 
totally changed the customs and manners of the people. Only a few of the 
women had survived this fatal malady ; who having lost their husbands, 
parents, or friends, gradually grew regardless of those constraints and cus- 
tomary formalities which before of course influenced their behaviour. 
For want of female attendants, they were obliged often to take men only 
into their service : and thb circumstance greatly contributed to destroy 
their habits of delicacy, and gave an opening to various freedoms and 
indecencies unsuitable to the sex, and frequently productive of very se- 
rious consequences. As to the monasteries, it is not surprising that 
Boccacio should have made them the scenes of his most libertine sto* 

* Sec supr. p. 166. ^ A phantasy, •nchantroent * ▼. 1996. Urr. 

8B0T. XVI.] miller's TA LB« | 9] 

lies. The plague had thrown open their gates. The monks and nuns 
wandered abroad, and partaking of the common liberties of life, and the 
levities of the world, forgot the rigour of their institutions, and the se- 
verity of their ecclesiastical characters. At the ceasing of the plague, 
when the religious were compelled to return to their cloisters, they 
could not forsake their attachment to these secular indulgences ; they 
continued to practise the same free course of life, and womM not sub- 
mit to the disagreeable and unsocial injunctions of their respective or- 
ders. Cotemporary historians give a shocking representation of tha 
unbounded debaucheries of the Rorentines on this occasion : and eccle- 
siastical writers mention this period as the grand epoch of the relaxation 
of monastic discipline. Boccacio did not escape the censure of the 
Church for these compositions. His conversion was a point much la^ 
boured ; and in expiation of his follies, he was almost persuaded to re- 
nounce poetry and the heathen authors, and to turn Carthusian. But 
to say the truth, Boccacio's life was almost as loose as his writings; till 
he was in great measure reclaimed by the powerful remonstrances of his 
master Petrarch, who talked much more to the purpose than his con- 
fessor. This Boccacio himself acknowledges in the fifth of his eclogues, 
which like those of Petrarch are enigmatical and obscure, entitled 

But to return to the Miller's -Tale. The character of the Clerke 
of Oxford, who studied astrology, a science then in high repute, but 
under the specious appearance of decorum, and the mask of the serious 
philosopher, carried on intrigues, is painted with these lively circum- 

This clerk was cleped bendy Nicholas^ 

Of dernd* love he coude and of solas : 

And therto he was slie, and ful prive, 

And like a maiden meke for to se. 

A chambre had he in that hostelrie* 

Alone, withouten any compagnie, 

Ful fetisly ydight with herbes sote'; 

And be himself was swete as is the rote^ 

Of licoris, or any setewale^. 

His almageste^ and bokes grete and smale. 

His astrelabre^ longing for his art, 

Hb augrim stones" layen faire apart, 

* the gentle Nicholiu. ^ secret. wrote also four books of judicial astrology. 

* Hospitium, one of the old hostels at He was an Egyptian astrologist, and Son- 
Oxford, which were very numerous before rished under Marcus Antoninus. He is 
the foundation of the colleges. This is mentioned in the Sompnour's Tale, v. 
one ofthe citizens' houses: a circumstance 1025, and the Wife of Bath's Prologue' 
which gave rise to the story. ▼. 824. 

» sweet ■ root. k aitcrlabore; an astrolabe. 

* the herb Valerian. > stones for computation. Augrim la 

* A book of astronomy written by Algorithm, the sum of the principal mlea 
Ptolemy. It was in tbirifeen booka. H« of common arithmetic Chancer «■• Mm- 


On shelves, eouched at his beddes hed ; 
His presse*" y covered with a falding red : 
And all above there lay a gay sautrie", 
On which he made on ntghtes melodic 
So swetely that al the chambre rong. 
And AngduB ad Virginem he song^ 

In the description of the young wife of our philosopher's host, there 
is great elegance, with a mixture of burlesque allusions. Not to men- 
tion the curiosity of a female portrait, drawn with so much exactness 
at such a distance of time. 

Fayre was this yongd wife, and therwithal 
As any weseP hire body gent and smal. 
A seint she wered, barred all of silk', 
A barmecloth ' eke, as white as morwe milk, 
Upon hire lendes, ful of many a gore^ 
White was hire smok, and brouded all before". 
And eke behind, on hire colere aboute. 
Of coleblak silk, within, and eke withoute. 
The tapes" of hire white velipere* 
Were of the samd suit of hire colere 7. ^ 

, Hire fillet* brode of silk, and set full hye, 
And sikerly* she had a likerous eye. 
Ful smal ypulled^ were hire browes two. 
And thy^ were bent^ and black as any slo. 

self an adept in this sort of knowledge. above-mentioned is said to have made se- 

The learned Selden is of opinion, that veral voyages to the most northerly parts 

his Astrolabe was.compiled from the Ara- of the world, charts of which he presented 

btan astronomers and mathematicians. toEdward the Third.- Perhaps to Iceland^ 

See his pref. to Notes on Drayt Folyolb. and the coasts of Norway, for astronomical 

p. 4. where the word Dulcamon (Troil. observations. These charts are lost Hak- 

Cr. iii. 933, 935.) is explained to be an luyt apud Anderson. Hist Com. i. p. 191. 

Arabic term for a root in calculation. His sub ann. 1360. (See Uakl. Voy. L 121 

Chanon Yeman'sTale proves his intimate seq. ed. 1598.) 

acquaintance witli the Hermetic philoso- "^ press. 

phy, then much in vogue. There is a " psaltery ; an instrument like a harp. 

statute of Henry the Fifth, against the '^ v. 91. p. 24. Urr. 

transmutation of metals, in Statut an. 4. ' weasel. 

Hen. V. cap. iv. viz. A.D. 1416. Chaucer, ' ** A girdle edged with silk." But we 

in the Astrolabe, refers to two famous ma- have no exact idea of what is here meant 

thematicians and astronomers of his time, by barrid. The Doctor op Fhisicke Is 

John Some, and Nicholas Lynne, both "girt with a seint of silk with barrit 

Carmelite friars of Oxford, and perhaps smale." Prol. v. 138. I once conjectured 

his friends, whom he calls ** reverent horded. See HoUingsh. Chron. iii. 84. col. 

clerkes." Astrolabe, p. 440. coL i. Urr. ii. 850. col. 1. &c. &c [See supr. p. 156, 

They both wrote calendars, which, like note'.] 

Chaucer's Astrolabe, were constructed for ' apron. * plait ; fold. 

the meridian of Oxford. Chaucer men- ^ edged ; adorned. 

Uons Alcabueius, an astronomer, that is, *^ tapes ; strings. 

Abdilazi Alchabitius, whose Isagoge in * head-dress. ^ collar. 

Astrologiam was printed at Venice, 1485, * knot ; top-knot 

4 to. lb. fol. 440. col. ii. Compare Herhelot * certainly. 

Blbl. Oriental, p. 963 b. V. Ketab. *>*' made small ornarrow, by plucking." 

4lattharlab^ p. 141 a.*- Nicholas Lynne * they. ^arched. 

SKCT. xvr.] millbr's talk. 193 

And she was wel more blisful on to see 

Than is the newd perienet tree ;* 

And softer than the wolle is of a wether : 

And by hire girdle heng a purse of lether, 

Tasseled** with silk, and perlid*' with latoun^. 

In all this world to seken up and doun, 

There nis no man so wise that coudd thenche 

So gay a popelot* or swiehe a wenche. 

Full brighter was the shining of hire hewe 

Than in the Tour the noble' y forged newe. 

But of hire song, it was as loud and yeme', 

As any swalow sitting on a heme. 

Therto she coude skip, and make a game, 

As any kid or calf folowing his dame. 

Hire mouth was swete as braket^ or the meth. 

Or hord of appels laid in hay or heth. 

Winsing she was as is a joly colt. 

Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt^ 

A broche^ she bare upon hire low colere 

As brode as is the bosse of a bokdere^ 

Hire shoon were laced on hire legges hie, &c."* 

Nicholas, as we may suppose, was not proof against .the charms of 
his blooming hostess. He has frequent opportunities of conversing with 
her; for her husband is the carpenter of Oseney Abbey near Oxford, 
and often absent in the woods belonging to the monastery**. His rival 
is Absalom, a parish-clerk, the gaiest of his calling, who being amo- 
rously inclined, very naturally avaib himself of a circumstance belong- 
ing to his profession: on holidays it was his business to carry the censer 
about the church, and he takes this opportunity of casting unlawful 
glances on the handsomest dames of the parish. His gallantry, agility, 
affectation of dress and personal elegance, skill in shaving and surgery, 
smattering in the law, taste for music, and many other accomplish- 

* a young pear-tree. Fr. Pair jeunet. ' a piece of money. 

» taaseled j fringed. ■ shrill ; [brisk, eager.— T.] 

M would read purflld. [I belieTs or- ^ bragget. A drink made of honey, 

namented with latoun in the shape of spices, ftc. 

pearls. — T. An expression used by Fran- ' "^ straight as an arrow." 

cis Thynne in his letter to Speght will ^ a jewel. [It seems to haTe signified 

explain this term t Orfrayet being com- originally the tongue of a buckle or dasp, 

pounded of the French or and Jray*t (or and from thence the buckle or clasp 

Jfryse English,) is that which to this daye itself It probably came by degrees to 

(being now made all of one stuffe or sub- signify any kind of Jewel. — T.] 

stance) is called firUed or perkd cloth of < buckler, 

gold.— Price.] " v. 125. Urr. 

' latoun, or chekelaton, is cloth of gold. * See v. 557. 

^ ••"so pretty a puppet." [This ixiay — I trow that he bewent 

either be considered as a diminutiTe from For timber, there our abbot hath him sent : 

poupie a puppet, or as a corruption of pa- For he is wont for timber for to go, 

pillot, a young butterfly. — T.] And dweUin at the grange a day or twa . 


194 millbb'8 tale. [sect. xti. 

ments, are thus inimitably represented by Chaucer, who must haye 
much relished so ridiculous a character. 

Now was ther of that chirche a parish derke, 
The which that was ydeped Absalon, 
Crulle was his here, and as the golde it shone, 
And strouted as a fannd large and brode, 
Ful streight and even lay his joly shode®. 
His rodeP was red, his eyen grey as goos, 
With Poules windowes corven on his shoos ^ 
In hosen red he went ful fetisly : 
Yclad he was ful smal and properly 
All in a kirtel' of a light waget, 
Ful faire", and thickd ben the pointes set: 
And therupon he had a gay surplise 
As white as is the blosme upon the rise*. 
A mery child he was, so god me save, 
Wei coud he leten blod, and clippe, and shave. 
And make a chartre of lond and a quitance; 
In twenty manere coud he trip and dance, 
After the scole of Oxenforde tho, 
And with his legges casten to and fro. 
And playen songes on a smal ribible*, 
Therto he song sometime a loud quinible^ 

His manner of making love must not be omitted. He serenades her 
with his guitar. 

He waketh al the night, and al the day, 

He kembeth his lockes brode, and made him gay. 

He woeth her by menes and brocage^, 

And swore he wolde ben hire owen page. 

He singeth brokking^ as a nightingale. 

He sent hire pinnes, methe, and spiced ale, ^ 

* hair. * complexion. Undaa." Registr. Priorat S. Swithini 

* Seep. 158, note*. sapr.[Cafeet/«ne«- Winton. MS. supr. dtat. Qnatern. 6. 
trati occur in antient Iigunctions to the Compare Wilkins't Condi. liL 670. it 4. 
clergy. In Eton-college ttatutei, given — ^Additionb.] 

in 1446, the fellows are forbidden to wear ' jacket 

sotularia rotirata, as also eaUgtf, white, * hawthorn [branch]. 

red, or green. Cap. xix. In a chantry, * ▼. 824. A species of guitar. Lyd- 

or chapel, founded at Winchester in the gate, MSS. BibL BodL Fairf. 16. In a 

year 1318, within the cemetery of the ' poem, never printed, called "Reason and 

Nuns of the Blessed Virgin, by Roger Sensuallite, compyled by Jhon Lydgate." 

Inkpenne, the members, that is, a vrarden, , ^ ..,., ,, ..... . j .. 

cha^ain i^nd clerk, are irder^ to go « in L*^' ""^*» (^- "^*^*")» ^^ 8«teiiies, 

meris caligis, et sotularibus non n^tis, "*»" ^*»'' "***y" *^»» tavcmes. 

nisi forsitan holU uti voluerunt" And it * treble. 

U added, " Vestes deferant nanJUmUUat, ■ by oilMng money; or a settlement. 

s«d dasuptr cUusas, vel hnvUal€ non no- *" quavering. 





And wafres piping hot out of the glede^ 
And, for she was of toun, he profered mede*.- 
Sometime to shew his lightnesse add maistrie 
He plaieth herode* on a scaffold hie. 

Whan that the firsts cocke hath crowe anon, 
Uprist this joly lover Absalon; 
And him arayeth gay at point devise. 
But first he cheweth grein^ and licorise, 

y the coals ; the oven. 

* See Rime of Sir Thopas, y. 3367. 
p. 146. Urr. Mr. Walpole has mentioned 
some curious particulars concerning the 
liquors which antiently prevailed in En- 
gland. Anecd. Paint i. p. 11. I will 
add, that cyder was very early a common 
liquor among our ancestors. In the year 
1295, an. 23 Edw. I. the king orders the 
sheriff of Southamptonshire to provide 
with all speed four hundred quarters of 
wheat, to be collected in parts of his baili- 
wIcJl nearest the sea, and to convey the 
same, being well winnowed, in good ships 
from Portsmouth to Winchelsea. Also to 
put on board the said ships, at the same 
time, two hundred tons of cyder. Test. 
R. apud Canterbury. The cost to be paid 
-immediately from the king*s wardrobe. 
This precept is in old French. Registr. 
Joh. Pontissar. Episc Winton. fol. 172. 
It is remarkable that Wickliffe translates, 
Luc. 1. 21. "He schal not drinke wyn 
ne sydyr" This translation was made 
about A.D. 1380. At a visitation of St 
Swithin's priory at Winchester, by the 
said bishop, it appears that the monks 
claimed to have, among other articles of 
luxury, on many festivals, '* Vinum, tarn 
album quam rebeum, claretum, medonem, 
burgarastrum," &c. This was so early 
as the year 1285. Registr. Priorat. S. 
Swith. Winton. MS. supr. citat quatem. 
5. It appears also, that the Hordaritu 
and Camerariui claimed every year of the 
prior ten doUa vinif or twenty pounds in 
money, A.D. 1337. Ibid, quatem. 5. A 
benefactor grants to the sud convent on 
the day of Ms anniversary, ** unam pipam 
vini pret. xx.*." for their refection, A.D. 
1286. Ibid, quatem. 10. Before the year 
1200, ** vina et medones " are mentioned 
as not uncommon in the abbey of Evesham 
in Worcestershire. Stevens, Monast. Ap- 
pend, p. 138. The use of mead, vudOf 
seems to have been very antient in En- 
gland. See Mon. Angl. i. 26. Thome, 
Chron. sub ann. 1114. Compare Dis- 

sertat. i. [It is not my intention to enter 
into the controversy concerning the culti- 
vation of vines, for making wine, in En- 
gland. I shall only bring to light the 
following remarkable passage on that sub- 
ject from an old English writer on gar- 
dening and farming. " We might have 
a reasonable good wine growyng in many 
places of this realme: as undoubtedly wee 
had immediately after the-Conquest ; tyll 
partly by slouthfulnesse, not liking any 
thing long that Js painefull, partly by 
dvill discord long continuyng, it was lef^ 
and so ^ith tyme lost, as appeareth by « 
number of places in this realme that keepe 
still the name of Vineyardes: and uppon 
manyclifi^s and hilles, are yet to be scene 
the rootes and olde remaynes of Vines. 
There is besides Nottingham, an aundent 
house called Chilwell, in which house re- 
mayneth yet, as an auncient monument, 
in a Great Wyndowe of Olasse, the whole 
Order of planting, pruyning, [pruning,] 
stamping and pressing of vines. Beside, 
there [at that place] is yet also growing 
an old vine, that yields a grape sufficient 
to make a right good wine, as was lately 
proved. — There hath, moreover, good ex- 
perience of late yeears been made, by two 
noble and honorable barons of this realme, 
the|lorde Cobham and the lordeWy lliams of 
Tame, who had both growyng about their 
houses, as good wines as are in many parts 
of Fraunce,'! &c. Barnabie Googe's Foure 
Bookes of Husbandry, &c Lond. 1578. 
4to. To THE Reader. — Additions.] 

• Speght explains this " feats of acti- 
Mty, furious parts in a play.** Gloss. Ch. 
Urr. Perhaps the character of Hbrod 
in a Mystery. [The old reading was 

^ Greyns, or grains, of Paris, or Para- 
dise, occurs in ^e Romaunt of the Rose, 
V. 1369. A rent of herring pies is an old 
payment from the dty of Norwich to the 
king, seasoned among other spices with 
half an ounce of grains of Paradise. 
Blomf. Norf. ii. 264. 

O 2 

196 miller's TALB. [SKCT. XVI. 

To smellen sote, or he had spoke with here. 
Under his tonge a trewe love he bere, 
For therby wend he to ben gracious; 
He cometii to the carpenteres hous^. 

In the mean time the scholar, intent on accomplishing his intrigue, 
locks himself up in his chamber for the space of two days. The car- 
penter, alarmed at this long seclusion, and supposing that his guest 
might be sick or dead, tries to gain admittance, but in vain. He peeps 
through a crevice of the door, and at length discovers the scholar, who 
is conscious that he was seen, in an affected trance of abstracted medi- 
tation. On this our carpenter, reflecting on the danger of being wise, 
and exulting in the security of his own ignorance, exclaims, 

A man wote litel what shal him betide I 

This man is fallen with his astronomic 

In som woodnesse, or in som agonie. 

I thought ay wel how that it shuldd be: 

Men shuldd not know of goddes privetee.' 

Ya blessed be alway the lewed-man% 

That nought but only his beleve can^ 

So ferd another clerke with astronomic; 

He walked in the feldes for to prie 

Upon the sterres what there shuld befalle 

Till he was in a marldpit yfalle; 

He saw not that But yet, by seint Thomas, 

Me reweth sore of hendy Nicholas: 

He shall be rated for his studying. 

But the scholar has ample gratification for this ridicule. The car- 
penter is at length admitted; and the scholar continuing the farce, 
gravely acquaints the former that he has been all this while making a 
most important discovery by means of astrological calculations. He is 
soon persuaded to believe the prediction: and in the sequel, which 
cannot be repeated here, this humorous contrivance crowns the scho- 
lar's schemes with success, and proves the cause of the carpenter's dis- 
grace. In this piece the reader observes that the humour of the cha- 
racters is made subservient to the plot. 

I have before hinted, that Chaucer's obscenity is in great measure to 
be imputed to his age. We are apt to form romantic and exaggerated 
notions about the moral innocence of our ancestors. Ages of igno- 

' V. 579. It ia to be remarked, that in And seide now helpin ui saint Frides- 

this tale the carpenter swears, with great wide. 

propriety, by the patroness saint of Ox- ^ " pry into the secrets of nature.*' 

ibrd, saint Frideswide, v. 340. ^ • unlearned. 

' "Whoknows only what he believes;" 

This carpenter to blissin him began, or, his Creed. 

8BCT. XVI.] 



ranee and simplicity are thought to be ages of purity. The direct con- 
trary, I beliere, is the case. Rude periods have that grossness of man- 
ners which b not less friendly to virtue than luxury itself. In the 
middle ages, not only the most flagrant violations of modesty were fre- 
quently practised and permitted, but the most infamous yices. Men 
are less ashamed as they are less polished. Great refinement multiplies 
criminal pleasures, but at the same time prevents the actual commission 
of many enormities: at least it preserves public decency, and suppresses 
public licentiousness. 

The Rbve's Tale, or the Miller of Trompington, is much in the 
same style, but with less humour ^ This story was enlarged by Chaucer 
from Boecacio''. There is an old English poem on the same plan, en- 
titled, A ryght pleasant and merye history ^ the Mylner of Abingian^ 
with his Wife and f aire Daughter^ and twopoare Scholars of Cambridge K 
It begins with these lines. 

Faire lordlnges, if you list to heere 
A meryjest" your minds to cheere. 

This piece is supposed by Wood to have been written by Andrew 
Borde, a physician, a wit, and a poet, in the reign of Henry the 
Eighth". It was at least evidently written after the time of Chaucer. 

by Robert Burton, author of the Anatomy 
of Melancholy, who was a great collector 
of such pieces. One of his books now in 
the Bodleian is the History of Tom 
Thumb ; whom a learned antiquary, while 
he laments that antient history has been 
much disguised by romantic narratives, 
pronounces to have been no less import- 
ant a personage than king Edgar's dwarf* 

" story. 

" See Wood's Atben. Oxon. Bqrdb, 
And Heiume's Bened. Abb. u Prsefat 
p. xL Iv. I am of opinion that Solera- 
Hall, in Cf^mhridge, mentioned in this 
poem, was Aula Solarii ; the hall, with 
the upper story, at that time a sufficient 
circumstance to distinguish and deno- 
minate one of the academical hospitia. 
Although Chaucer calls ii, " a grete col- 
lege,*' V. 881. Thus In Oxford we had 
Chimney-hall, Aula cum Camino, an 
ainiost parallel proof of the simplicity of 
their antient houses of learning. Twyne 
also mentions Solere-hall, at Oxford, 
Also Aula Salarii, which I doubt not is 
properly Solarii. Compare Wood Ant, 
Oxon. ii. 11. col. 1. 13. col. i. 12. col. li. 
Caius will have it to be Clare-hall. Hist! 
Acad. p. 57. Those who read Scholars- 
hall (of Edw. III.) may consult Wacht, 
V. SoLLBR. In the mean time, for the 
reasons assigned, one of these two halls 
or colleges at Cambridge, might at first 
have been commonly called Soler-hall, A 

> See also The Shipman^ Tale, which 
was originally taken from some comic 
French troubadour. But Chaucer had it 
from Boccacio. The story of Zenobia, in 
the Monkes Tale, is from Boccacio's Cas. 
Vir. Illustr. (See Lydg. Boch. viii. 7.) 
That of Hugolin of Pisa in the same Tale, 
from Dante. That of Pedro of Spain, 
from archbishop Turpin, ibid. Of Julius 
Cesar, from Lucan, Suetonius, and Vale- 
rius Maximus, ibid. The idea of this 
Tale was suggested by Boccacio^s book on 
the same subject. 

^ Decamer. Giom. ix. Nov. 6. [But 
both Boccacio and Chaucer probably bor- 
rowed from an old Conte, or Fabliau, 
by an anonymous French rhymer, D9 
Gombert et des deux Clers. See Fabliaux 
el Conte t. Paris, 1756. torn. ii. p. 115-^ 
124. The Shipman*s Tale, as 1 have 
hinted, originally came from some such 
Frencli Fableoor, through the medium 
of Boccacio. — Additions.} 

* A manifest mistake for Oxford, unless 
we read Trumpington for Abingdon, or 
retaining Abingdon we might read Ox- 
ford for Cambridge. [There is, however, 
Abington, with a mill-stream, seven miles 
from Cambridge.] Imprint at London 
by Rycharde Jones, 4 to. Bl. Let. It is 
in Bibl. Bodl. Selden, C. 39. 4to. This 
book was probably given to that library, 
with many other petty black letter histo- 
ries, in prose and verse, of a similar cast, 


It is the work of some tasteless imitator, who has sufRciently disguised 
his original, by retaining none of its spirit I mention these circum- 
stances, lest it should be thought that this frigid abridgement was the 
ground-work of Chaucer's poem on the same subject. In the class of 
humorous or satirical tales, the Sompnour's Tale, which exposes the 
tricks and extortions of the Mendicant friars, has also distinguished 
merit. This piece has incidentally been mentioned above with the 
Plowman's Tale, and Pierce Plowman. 

Genuine humour, the concomitant of true taste, consists in discern- 
ing improprieties in books as well as characters. We therefore must 
remark under this class another tale of Chaucer, which till lately has 
been looked upon as a grave heroic narrative. I mean the Rime of 
Sir Thopas. Chaucer, at«a period which almost realized the manners 
of romantic chivalry, discerned the leading absurdities of the old ro- 
mances: and in this poem, which may be justly called a prelude to Don 
Quixote, has burlesqued them with exquisite ridicule. That this was 
the poet's aim, appears from many passages. But, to put the matter 
beyond a doubt, take the words of an ingenious critic. " We are to 
observe," says he, 'Hhat this was Chaucer's own Tale: and that, when 
in the progress of it, the good sense of the host is made to break in 
upon him, and interrupt him, Chaucer approves his disgust, and 
changing his note, tells the simple instructive Tale of Meliboeus, a 
moral tale vertuoiut, as he terms it; to show what sort of fictions were 
most expressive of real life, and most proper to be put into the hands of 
the people. It is further to be noted, that the^o^ of The Gianl Olyphantj 
and Ckylde Thopasy was not a fiction of his own, but a story of antique 
fame, and very celebrated in the days of chivalry; so that nothing 
could better suit the poet's design of discrediting the old romances, 
than the choice of this venerable legend for the vehicle of his ridicule 
upon them®." But it is to be remembered, that Chaucer's design was 
intended to ridicule the frivolous descriptions, and other tedious imper- 
tinencies, so common in the volumes of chivalry with which his age 
was overwhelmed, not to degrade in general or expose a mode of 
fabling, whose sublime extravagances constitute the marvellous graces 
of his own Cambuscan ; a composition which at the same time abun- 
dantly demonstrates, that the manners of romance are better calcu- 
lated to answer the purposes of pure poetry, to captivate the imagina- 
tion, and to produce surprise, Ihan the fictions of classical antiquity. 

hall near Braxen-nose college, Oxford, Mr. Tyrwhitt haa observed : '< I can only 

was called Glazen-hall, having glass win- say that I have not been so fortunate as 

dows, antiently not common. See Twyne to meet with any traces of such a story of 

Miscel. qusedami Sec. ad calc. Apol. Antiq. an earlier date than the Canterbury 

Acad. Oxon. Tales." And Mr. Ritson, in language at 

® See Dr. Hurd's Letters on Chivalry once elegant and expressive, has pro- 

and Romance. Dialogues, &c iii. 218. nounced the whole statement '* a lye." — 

edit. 1765. [With regard to " The boke of Price.] 
The Giant Olyphant andChylde Thopas," 




Chaucer conHnmeL General vietq (^the Prohguee to the Caanierbury 
Taleg. ThePriaresse. The Wife of Bath. The Franhelein. The 
Doctor ofPhysiche. State of medioal erwUiion and practice. Me- 
didneandasironomybiended. Chaucer's p^sieians library. Learn- 
ing of the Spanish Jews. The Sompnour. The Pardonere. The 
Monhe. Qualifications of an abbot. The Frere. The Parsoune. 
The Squire. English crusades into Litkuania. The Reve. The 
Clarhe of Oxetford. The Serfeaunt ofLawe. The Hoste. Stqy- 
plemental Tale^ or History of Beryn. Analysed and examined. 

But Chaucer^s vein of humour, although conspicuous in the Canter- 
bury Tales, is chiefly displayed in the Characters with which they 
are introduced. In these his knowledge of the world availed him in a 
peculiar degree^ and enabled him to give such an accurate picture of 
antient manners, as no cotemporary nation has transmitted to posterity. 
It is here that we view the pursuits and employments, the customs and 
diversions, of our ancestors, copied from the life, and represented with 
equal truth and spirit, by a judge of mankind, whose penetration qua- 
lified him to discern their foibles or discriminating peculiarities ; and 
by an artist, who understood that proper selection of circumstances, 
and those predominant characteristics, which form a finished portrait. 
We are surprised to find, in so gross and ignorant an age, such talents 
for satire, and for observation on life ; qualities which usually exert 
themselves at more civilised periods, when the improved state of 
society, by subtilising our speculations, and establishing uniform modes 
of behaviour, disposes mankind to study themselves, and renders de- 
viations< of conduct, and singularities of character, more immediately 
and necessarily the objects of censure and ridicule. These curious 
and valuable remains are specimens of Chaucer*s native genius, unas- 
sisted and unalloyed. The figures are all British, and bear no sus- 
picious signatures of Classical, Italian, or French imitation. The 
characters of Theophrastus are not so lively, particular, and appro- 
priated. A few traits from this celebrated part of our author, yet 
too little tasted and understood, may be sufiident to prove and illus- 
trate what is here advanced. 

The character of the Priorbsse is chiefly distinguished by an excess 
of delicacy and decorum, and an afiectation of courtly accomplish- 
ments. But we are informed, that she was educated at the school 
of Stratford at Bow near London, perhaps « fashionable seminary for 
breeding nuns. 



[sect, XVU. 

There was also a nonne a Prioresse 
That of hire smiling was ful simple and coy ; 
Hire gretest othe n*as but by seint £loy^ &c. 
And Frenche she spake full fayre and fetisly, 
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, 
For Frenche of Paris waa to hire unknowe« 
At met^^ was she wel ytaughte withalle ; 
She lette no morsel from hire lippes falle» 
Ne wette hire fingres in hire saued depe ; 
Wel coude she carle a morsel, and wel kepe» 
Thatte no drope ne fell upon hire brest ; 
In curtesie was sette ful moche hire lest^« 

^ Seynti Loy^ f. e. Saint Lewis. [Sanc- 
tus Eligius. — T. This saint is mentioned 
by Lyndsay in bis Monarchy.] The same 
oath occurs in Ihe Freere's Tale, v. 300. 
p. 88. Urr. 

• dinner. [The Prioresse's exact be- 
haviour at table, is copied from Rom. Rose, 

Et Men se garde, ftc; 

To speak French is mentioned above, 
among her accomplishments. There is a 
letter in old French from queen Philippa, 
and her daughter Isabell, to the Priour of 
Saint Swithin's at Winchester, to admitt 
one Agnes Patshull into an eleemosynary 
sisterhood belonging to his convent. The 
Priour is requested to grant her " Une 
Lyvere en votre Maison diei\ de Wyn- 
cestere et estre un des sosrs," for her life. 
Written at Windesar, Apr. 25, The year 
must have been about 1350. Registr. 
Priorat MS. supr. citat Quatern. xix. 
fol. 4. I do not so much cite this instance 
to prove that the Priour roust be supposed 
to understand French, as to show that it 
was now the court language, and even on 
a matter of business. There was at least 
a great propriety, that the queen and 
princess should write in this language, 
although to an ecclesiastic of dignity. In 
the same Register, there is a letter in old 
French from the queen Dowager Isabell 
to the Priour and Convent of Winchester; 
to show, that it was at her request, that 
king Edward the Third her son had grant- 
ed a church in Winchester diocese, to the 
monastery of Leedes in Yorkshire, for 
their better support, " a trouver sis cha- 
gooignes chantans tons les jours en la cha- 
pele du Chastel de Ledes, pour laime 
roadame Alianore reync d'Angleterre," 
fro. A.D. 1341. Quatern. vi. 

The Prioresse's greatest oath is by Saint 
ploy. I will here throw together some 

of the most remarkable oaths in the Can- 
terbury Tales. The Host, swears by my 
father's ioule, Urr. p. 7. 783. Sir Tho- 
PA8, by ale and breade. p. 146. 3377. 
AtLCiTEfhj my pan, \.e. head. p. 10. 1167. 
Theseus, by mightie Mars the red. p. 14. 
1749. Again, as'he was a trew knight, 
p«. 9. 961. The CAaPBNTER'a wife, by 
saint Thomas of Kent. p. 26. 183. The 
Smith, by Christesfooie. p. 29. 674. The 
Cambridge Scholar, by my father's 
kinn. p. 31. 930. Again, by my croune* 
ib. 933. Again, for godes benes, or beni" 
son. p. 32. 965. Again, by seint Cuth' 
berde. ib. 1019. Sir Joham of Boundis, 
by seint Martyne. p. 37. 107. Gamelyn, 
by goddis boke. p. 38. 181. Gameltm's 
brother, by sami ttithere, ibid. 273. 
Again, by Cristis ore. ib. 279. A Frank- 
ELEYN, by saint Jame that in Gaits is, i. e. 
saint James of Galicia. p. 40. 549. 1514. 
A Porter, by Goddis berde. ib. 581. 
Gamelyn, by my hals, or neck. p. 42. 
773. The Maistir Outlawb, by the 
gode rode, p. 45. 1265. The Hoste, by 
the precious corpus Madrian. p. 160. 4. 
Again, by saint Faults bell. p. 168. 893. 
The Man of Lawb, Depordeux. p. 49. 
39. The Marchaunt, by saint Thomas 
of hide. p. 66. 745. The Sompnour, 
by goddis armis two. p. 82. 833. The 
Hoste, by cockis bonis, p. 106. 2235. 
Again, by naylis and by blode, L e. of 
Christ, p. 130. 1802. Again, by saint 
Damiam, p. 131. 1824. Again, by saint 
Runion. ib. 1834. Again, by Corpus 
domini. ib. 1838. The Riottour by 
Goddis digne bones, p. 135. 2211. The 
Hoste, to the Monke,. by your father 
kin. p. 160. 43. The Monke, by hia 
porthose, or breviary, p. 139. 2639. 
Again, by God and saint Mturiin. ib. 2G56. 
The Hoste, by armis, blode and bonis. 
p. 24. 17. — Additions.] 
* pleasure, desire. 


Hire overlipp^ wiped she so clene, 

That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene 

Of gresd, whan she dronken hadde hire draught, 

Ful semeiy after hire mete she raught*. — 

And peined hire to contrefeten chere 

Of court, and bene statelich of manere^ 

She has even the false pity and sentimentality of many modem 

She was so charitable and so pitous, 
She wold^ wepe if that she saw a mous 
Caughte in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde. 
Of smald houndes hadde she that she fed 
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede' : * 
But sore wept she if on of hem were dede, 
Or if men smote it with a yerd^*' smert : 
And all was conscience and tendre herte*. 

The Wife of Bath is more amiable for her plain and useful quali- 
fications. She is a respectable dame, and her chief pride consists in 
being a conspicuous and significant character at church on a Sunday. 

Of clothmaking^ she haddd haunt 

She passed hem of Ipres and of Gaunt ^ 

In all the parish, wif ne was there non 

That to the ofiring bifore hire shulde gon ; 

And if ther did, certain so wroth was she, 

That she was out of alle charite. 

Hire coverchiefs™ weren ful fine of ground, 

I dorste swere they weyeden a pound. 

That on the sonday were upon hire hede : 

Her hosen weren of fine scarlet rede. 

Full streite iteyed, and sboon ful moist and newe : 

Bold was hire face, and fayre and rede of hew. 

She was a worthy woman all hire live : 

Housbondes at the chirche dore° had she had five.® 

• literally, stretched [reached]. were joined by the priest, and great part 
' Prol. V. 124. of the service performed. Here also the 
' bread of a finer sort bride was endowed with what was called 
^ stick. » V. 143. Dos ad ostium ecclesia. This ceremony 
^ It is to be observed, that she lived in is exhibited in a curious old picture en- 
the neighbourhood of Bath ; a country graved by Mr. Walpole, where king Henry 
famous for clothing to this day. the Seventh is married to his queen, 
> See vol.i. p. 177, note^. standing at the fepade or western portal 
"* head-dress. of a magnificent Gothic church. Anecd. 
■ At the southern entrance of Norwich Paint i. 31. Compare Marten Hit. Eccl. 
cathedral, a representation of the Espou- Anecdot ii. p. 680. And Heame's Ad- 
sals, or sacrament of marriage, is carved tiquit. G1a«tonb. Append, p. 310. 
in stone ; for here the hands of the couple * v. 449. 


The Framkelein ia a country gentleman, whose estate consisted in 
free land, and was not sul)ject to feudal services or payments. He b 
ambitious of showing his riches by the plenty of his table; but his 
hospitality, a virtue much more practicable among our ancestors than 
at present, often degenerates into luxurious excess. His impatience if 
his sauces were not sufficiently poignant, and every article of his dinner 
in due form and readiness, is touched with the hand of Pope or Boileau. 
He had been a president at the sessions, knight of the shire, a sheriffs 
and a coroner p. 

An housholder, and that a grete, was he : 

Seint Julian he was in his contree^; 

His brede, his ale, was alway after on ; 

A better envyned' man was no wher non. 

Withouten bake mete never was his hous 

Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous, 

It snewed' in his hous of mete and drinke, 

Of alle deintees that men coud of thinke. 

After the sondry sesons of the yere. 

So changed he his meteS and his soupere. 

Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in mewe, ^ 

And many a breme, and many a luce^, in stewe. 

Wo was his coke, but if his sauce were 

Poinant and sharpe, and ready all his gere t 

His table dormant^ in his halle alway. 

Stole redy covered, all the longd day.' 

The character of the Doctor of Phisicke preserves to us the state 
of medical knowledge, and the course of medical erudition then in 
fashion. He treats hb patients according to rules of astronomy : a 
science which the Arabians engrafted on medicine. 

For he was grounded in astronomic : 

He kept his patient a ful gret dele 

In houres by his magike natureL^ 

Petrarch leaves a legacy to his physician John de Dondi, of Padua, 
who was likewise a great astronomer, in the year 1370*. It was a long 
time before the medical profession was purged from these superstitions. 
Hugo de Evesham, bom in Worcestershire, one of the most famous 
physicians in Europe about the year 1280, educated in both the uni- 
versities of England, and at others in France and Italy, was eminently 

' An oiBce antienUy executed by gen- traveller who ha4 been traitorously used 

tlemen of the greatest respect and pro- in his lodgings. See Urr. Ch. p. 599. 

perty. v. 625. 

* Simon the leper, at whose house our ' [stored with wine. — T.] 

SaTiour lodged in Bethany, is called, in ' snowed. ^ dinner. 

the Legends, Julian the good herborovf, " pike. * never removed, 

and bishop of Bethphage. In the Tale of ' v. 356. ^ v. 416. 

Beryn, St Julian is invoked to revenge a * See Acad. Inscript. xx. 443. 


skilled in mathematicd and astronomy ^ Pierre d'Apono, a celebrated 
professor of medicine and astronomy at Padua, wrote commentaries on 
the problems of Aristotle, in the year 1310. Roger Bacon says, 
** astronomies pars melior medicinal" In the statutes of New-College 
at Oxford, given in the year 1S87) medicine and astronomy are men- 
tioned as one and the same science. Charles the Fifth king of France, 
who was goyerned entirely by astrologers, and who commanded all the 
Latin treatises which could be found relating to the stars, to be trans- 
lated into French, established a college in the university of Paris for 
the study of medicine and astrology^. There is a scarce and very cu- 
rious book, entitled, "Nova medicines methodus curandi morbos ex 
mathematica scientia deprompta, nunc denuo revisa, &c. Joanne Has- 
fiirto Virdungo, medico et astrologo doctissimo, auctore, Haganoee ex- 
cus. 1518^." Hence magic made a part of medicine. In the Mar- 
CHAUNTS second tale, or History of Beryn, falsely ascribed to Chau- 
cer, a chirurgical operation of changing eyes is partly performed by the 
assistance of the occult sciences. 

— — The whole science of all surgery, 
Was unyd, or the chaunge was made of both eye. 
With many sotill enchantours, and eke nygrymauncers. 
That sent wer for the nonis, maistris, and scoleris.* 

Leland mentions one William Glatisaunt, an custrologer and physician, 
a fellow of Merton College in Oxford, who wrote a medical tract, which, 
says he, ^'nescio quid maglx spirabatV I could add many other 

The books which our physician studied are then enumerated. 

Well knew he the old Esculaplus, 
And Dioscorides, and eke Rufus, 
Old Hippocras, Hali, and Gallien, 
Serapion, Rasis, and Avicen, 
Averrois, Damascene, and Constantin, 
Bernard, and Gattisden, and Gilbertin. 

Rufus, a physician of Ephesus, wrote in Greek, about the time of Tra- 
jan. Some fragments of his works still remain^. Haly was a famous 
Arabic astronomer, and a commentator on Galen, in the eleventh cen- 
tury, which produced so many famous Arabian physicians ^ John Se- 
rapion, of the same age and country, wrote on the practice of physic K 

^ Pits. p. 870. Bale, iv. 50. ziii. 86. ^ Conring. Script Com. S«c i. cap. 4. 

*> Bacon, Op. Maj. edit Jebb, p. 158. p. 66. 67. The Arabians have transla- 

See also p. 176. 182. tions of him. Herbel. BibL Orient, p. 972 

" Montfaucon, Bibl. Manuscript, torn. iL b. 977 b. 
p. 791 b. ' In quarto. ' Id. ibid. Ssec. zi. cap. 5. p. 114. Haly, 

* V. 2989. Urr. Ch. called Abbas, was likewise an eminent 

' Lei. apud Tann. Bibl. p. 262. And physician of this period. He was eaUed 

Lei. Script. Brit. p. 400. <* Simla Galeni." Id. ibid. 

> See Ames's Hist. Print, p. 147. ^ Id. ibid. p. 113, 114. 


Avicen, the most eminent physician of the Arabian school, flourished 
in the same century ^ Rhasis, an Asiatic physician, practised at Cor- 
dova in Spain, where he died in the tenth century"'. Averroes, as the 
Asiatic schools decayed by the indolence of the Caliphs, was one of 
those philosophers who adorned the Moorish schools erected in Africa 
and Spain. He was a professor in the university of Morocco. He 
wrote a commentary on all Aristotle^s works, and died about the year 
1 160. He was styled the most Peripatetic of all the Arabian writers. 
He was born at Cordova of an antient Arabic family °. John Dama- 
scene, secretary to one of the Caliphs, wrote in various sciences, before 
the Arabians had entered Europe, and had seen the Grecian philoso- 
phers ^. Constantinus Afer, a monk of Cassino in Italy, was one of the 
Saracen physicians who brought medicine into Europe, and formed the 
Salemitan school, chiefly by translating various Arabian and Grecian 
medical books into Latin >*. He was bom at Carthage; and learned 
grammar, logic, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and natural philoso- 
phy, of the Chaldees, Arabians, Persians, Saracens, Egyptians, and In- 
dians, in the schools of Bagdat. Being thus completely accomplished 
in these sciences, after thirty-nine years study, he returned into Africa, 
where an attempt was formed against his life. Constantine having for- 
tunately discovered this design, privately took ship and came to Sa- 
lerno in Italy, where he lurked some time in disguise. But he was re- 
cognised by the Caliph's brother then at Salerno, who recommended 
him as a scholar universally skilled in the learning of all nations, to the 
notice of Robert duke of Normandy. Robert entertained him with 
the highest marks of respect : and Constantine, by the advice of his 
patron, retired to the monastery of Cassino, where being kindly received 
by the abbot Desiderius, he translated in that learned society the books 
above mentioned, most of which he first imported into Europe. These 
versions are said to be still extant. He flourished about the year 1086^. 
Bernard, or Bemardus Gordonius, appears to have been Chaucer's co- 
temporary. He was a professor of medicine at Montpelier, and wrote 
many treatises in that faculty'. John Gatisden was a fellow of Merton 

1 Conring. utsupr. See Pard. T. v. 2407. And lectuariea had he there full fine, 

Urr. p. 136. Soche as the cursid monk Dan drnttoh* 

^ Conring. ut supr. Ssec. z. cap. 4. tim 

p. 110. He wrote a large and famous Hath written in his boke de Coitu. 
work, called Continent, Rhasis and Al- i. u- u u j « r* r. •*. 

(f. Albumasar, a great Arabian Jhe title of this book is "De Coitu, qui- 

astrol^r,) occur in the library of Peter- bus prositaut obsit, quibus medicammibu. 

borou^ Abbey, Matric Libr. Monast Jj ^^S^^.^^'f .^.^'^J"; impediaturye." Inter 

Burgi S. Petri. Gunton. Peterb. p. 187. <>?• ^a^iL 1536. fol. 

See Heame, Ben. Abb. PmbC lix. ' See Leo Ostiensis, or P. Diac. Auctar. 

" Conring. ut supr. Ssec. xli. cap. 2. p. ad Leon. Chron. Mon. Cassin. lib. iii. c. 35. 

Ug, p. 445. Scriptor. Italic, torn. iv. Murator. 

** Voss. Hist. Gr. L. ii. c. 24. In his book De Incantationibus, one of his 

» Petr. Diacon. de Vir, illustr. Monast inquiries is, An invenerim in Ubris Gra- 

Casain. cap. xxiii. See the Dissertations. corum hoc qualiter in Indorum librit est 

He is again mentioned by our author in invenire, &c. Op. torn. i. ut supr. 

the Marchaunfs Tale, v. 1326. p. 71. 'Petr. Lambec. Prodrom. Sajc. xiv. p. 

Urr. 274. edit, ut supr. 



College, where Chaucer was educated, about the year 1S20'. Pits 
says, that he was professor of physic in Oxford ^ He was the most ce- 
lebrated physician of his age in England ; and his principal work is en- 
titled Rosa Medica, divided into five books, which was printed at 
Paris in the year 1492^ Gilbertine, I suppose, is Gilbertus Anglicus, 
who flourished in the thirteenth century, and wrote a popular compen- 
dium of the medical art^. About the same time, not many years be- 
fore Chaucer wrote, the works of the most famous Arabian authors, 
and among the rest those of Avicenne, Averroes, Serapion, and Rhasis, 
above mentioned, were translated into Latins These were our phy- 
sician's library. But having mentioned his books, Chaucer could not 
forbear to add a stroke of satire so naturally introduced, 

His studie was but litel on the bibleJ 

The following anecdotes and observations may serve to throw ge- 
neral light on the learning of the authors who compose this curious 11- 
brary« The Aristotelic or Arabian philosophy continued to be commu- 
nicated from Spain and Africa to the rest of Europe chiefly by means 

' It hu been before observed, that at 
the introduction of philosophy into Eu- 
rope by the Saracens, the clergy only 
studied an4 practised the medical art. 
This fashion prevailed a long while after- 
wards. The Prior and Convent of St. 
5within*8 at Winchester granted to Tho- 
mas of Shaftesbury, clerk, a corrody, con- 
sisting of two dishes daily from the Prior's 
kitchen, bread, drink, robes, and a com- 
petent chamber in the monastery, for the 
term of his life. In consideration of all 
which concessions, the said Thomas paid 
them fifty marcs : and moreover is obliged, 
" deservire nobis in Arte medicine. Dat. 
in dom. Capitul. Feb. 15. A. D. 1319." 
Registr. Friorat. S. Swithin. Winton. MS. 
aupr. citat. The most learned and accu- 
rate Fabrioius has a separate article on 
Theologi Medici. Bibl. Or. xii. 739. seq. 
See also Oianon. Istor. Neapol. 1. z. ch. xi. 
I 491. In the Romance of Sir Guy, a 
monk heals the knight's wounds. Signat. 
O. iiii. 

There was a monke beheld him well 
That could of leaeh erafu some dell. 

In G. of Monmouth, who wrote in 1128, 
Eopa intending to poison Ambrosius, in- 
troduces himself as a physician ; but in 
order to sustain this character with due 
propriety, he first shaves his head, and 
assumes the habit of a monk, lib.- viii. c. 
14. John Arundale, afterwards bishop of 
Chichester, was chaplain and first physi- 
cian to Henry the Sixth, in 1458. Wharton, 
Angl. Sacr. i. 777. Faricius abbot of 
Abingdon, about 1110, was eminent for 

his skill in medicine ; and a great cure 
performed by him is recorded in the re- 
gister of the abbey. Heame's Bened. Abb. 
Pmf. xML King John, while sick at 
Newark, made use of William de Wode- 
stoke, abbot of the neighbouring monaste- 
ry of Croxton, as his physician. Bever. 
Chron. MSS. Harl. apud Heame, Prae^ ut 
supr. p. xlix. Many other instances may 
be added. The physicians of the univer- 
sity of Paris were not allowed to marry 
till the year 1452. Menagian. p. 333. In 
the same university, antiently at the ad- 
mission to the degree of doctor in physic, 
they took an oath that they were not mar- 
ried. MSS. Br. Twyne, 8. p. 249. [See 
Freind's Hist, of Physick, ii.257. — Addi- 

« p. 414. 

* Tanner, Bibl. p. 312. Leknd styles 
this work, "opus luculentum juxta ac 
eruditum." Script. Brit p. 355. 

^ Conring. ut supr. Saec. xiii. cap. 4. 
p. 127. And Leland. Script Brit p. 291. 
who says, that Gilbert's Practicalet Com" 
pendium Medicin€B was most carefully stu- 
died by many " ad qusestum properantes." 
He adds, that it was common, about this 
time, for English students abroad to as- 
sume the surname AngUcus, as a plausible 
recommendation. [See more of Gilbertus 
Anglicus, ibid. p. 356. — Additions.] 

' Conring. ut supr. Saec. xiii. cap. 4. 
p. 126. About the same time, the works 
of Galen and Hippocrates were first trans- 
lated from Greek into Latin; but in a 
most barbarous style. Id. ibid. p. 127. 

» V. 440. 


of the Jews; particularly to France and Italy, which were oyemm 
with Jews about the tenth and eleventh centuries. About these pe- 
riods, not only the courts of the Mahometan princes, but even that of 
the pope himself, were filled with Jews, Here they principally gained 
an establishment by the profession of physic ; an art then but imper- 
fectly known and practised in most parts of Europe. Being well versed 
in the Arabic tongue, from their conmierce with Africa and Egypt, 
they had studied the Arabic translations of Galen and Hippocrates ; 
which had become still more familiar to the great numbers of their 
brethren who resided in Spain. From this source also the Jews learn- 
ed philosophy ; and Hebrew versions made about this period from the 
Arabic, of Aristotle and the Greek physicians and mathematicians, are 
still extant in some libraries ^ Here was a beneficial effect of the di- 
spersion and vagabond condition of tlie Jews : I mean the difiusion of 
knowledge. One of the most eminent of these learned Jews was Moses 
Maimonides, a physician, philosopher, astrologer, and theologist, edu- 
cated at Cordova in Spain under Averroes. He died about the year 
1208. Averroes being accused of heretical opinions, was sentenced to 
live with the Jews in the street of the Jews at Cordova. Some of 
these learned Jews began to flourish in the Arabian schools in Spain, 
as early as the beginning of the ninth century. Many of the treatises 
of Averroes were translated by the Spanish Jews into Hebrew : and 
the Latin pieces of Averroes now extant were translated into Latin 
from these Hebrew versions. I have already mentioned the school or 
university of Cordova. Leo Afrieanus speaks of *' Flatea bibliotheca- 
riorum Cordouae." This, from what follows, appears to be a street of 
booksellers. It was in the time of Averroes, and about the year 1220. 
One of our Jew philosophers having fallen in love, turned poet, and his 
verses were publicly sold in thb street*. My author says, that re- 
nouncing the dignity of the Jewish doctor, he took to writing verses*. 

The SoMPNOUR, whose ofiice it was to summon uncanonical offend- 
ers into the archdeacon*s court, where they were very rigorously pu- 
nished, is humorously drawn as counteracting his profession by his ex- 
ample : he is libidinous and voluptuous, and his rosy countenance be- 
lies his occupation. This is an indirect satire on the ecclesiastical pro- 
ceedings of those times. His affectation of Latin terms, which he had 
picked up from the decrees and pleadings of the court, must have formed 
a character highly ridiculous. 

And whan that he wel dronken had the win, 
Than wold he speken no word but Latihe. 

y EuMb. RenaudoL apud Fabric. Bib). tate doctorum posthabita coepit 

Gr. xii. 254. edere cannina.*' See also Simon, in 

* Leo African, de Med. et Philosoph. Suppl. ad Leon. Mutinens. de Ritib. 
Hebr. c. xxviii. xxix. Hebr. p. 104. 

* LeO| ibid. "Amort capitur, el digni- 


A fewe termes coude he two or three. 
That he had lemed out of som decree* 
No wonder is, he herd it all the day : 
And eke ye knowen wel, how that a jay 
Can clepen watte* as wel as can the pope : 
But whoso wolde in other thing him groped 
Than hadde he spent all his philosophies 
Ay qtiesdo quid juris wolde he crie.** 

He is with great propriety made the friend and companion of the 
Pardoners, or dispenser of indulgences^ who is just arrived from the 
pope, '^brimful of pardons come from Rome al hote ;** and who carries 
in his wallet, among other holy curiosities, the virgin Mary's veil, 
and part of the sail of Saint Peter's ship.* 

The Monks is represented as more attentive to horses and hounds 
than to the rigorous and obsolete ordinances of Saint Benedict Such 
are his ideas of secular pomp and pleasure, that he is even qualified to 
be an abbotf. 

An outrider that loved venerie', 

A manly man, to ben an abbot able : 

Ful many a deinte hors hadde he in stable. — 

This ilkd^ monk lette old thinges pace, 

And held after the new world the trace. 

He yave not of the text a pulled hen' 

That saith, that hunters be» not holy men.^ 

He is ambitious of appearing a conspicuous and stately figure on 
horseback. A circumstance represented with great elegance. 

And whan he rode, men mighte his bridel here 
Gingeling in a whistling wind, as dere 
And eke as loude, as doth the chapel bell.* 

* [So edit 1561. See Johnson's Die- tissimus/' &c. MS. Registr. ut supr. p. 
tionary, in Maopib. — Additions.] 205. These were the ostensible qualities 

^ examine. of the master of a capital monastery. But 

^ V. 639. Chaucer, in the verses before us, seems to 

* T. 670 seq. have told the real truth, and to have given 
' There is great humour in the circum- the real cliaracter as it actually existed in 

^stances which qualify our monk to be an life. 1 believe that our industrious con- 
'abboL Some time in the thirteenth cen- frere, with all his linowledge of glossing, 
tury, the prior and convent of. Saint writing, illuminating, chanting, and Bene- 
Swithin's at Winchester, appear to have diet's rules, would in fact have been less 
recommended one of their brethren to the likely- to succeed to a vacant abbey, than 
convent of Hyde as a proper person to be one of the genial complexion and popular 
preferred to the abbacy of that convent, accomplishments here inimitably de- 
then vacant These are his merits. "Est scribed. 

enim confrater ille noster in gloeanda sa- ' hunting. ^ same, 

era pagina bene callens, in scriptura ' ** He did not care a straw for the text," 

[transcribing] peritus, in capitalibus Uteris ftc. 

appingendis bonus artifex, in regula S. ^ v. 176 seq. 

Benedict! instouctissimus, psallendi doc- * See vol. i. p. 167. 


The gallantry of his riding dress, and his genial aspect, is painted in 
lively colours. 

I saw his sieves purfiled™ at the hond, 
With gris^ and that the finest of the lond. 
And for to fasten his hode under his chinne 
He hadde of gold y wrought a curious pinne, 
A love-knotte in the greter end ther was. 
His hed was balled, and shone as any glas, 
And eke his face as it hadde ben anoint : 
He was a lord ful fat, and in good point. 
His eyen stepe, and rolling in his hed, 
That stemed as a fomeis of a led. 
His botes souple, his hors in gret estat, 
Now certainly he was a fayre prelat I 
He was not pale as a forpined gost ; 
A fat swan loved he best of any rost. 
His palfrey was as broune as is a berry .^ 

The Frbrb, or friar, is equally fond of diversion and good living ; 
bat the poverty of his establishment obliges him to travel about the 
country, and to practise various artifices to provide money for his 
convent, under the sacred character of a confessor. 

A frere there was, a wanton and a mery ; 

A limitourP, a ful solempne man: 

In all the ordres foure^ is non that can 

So moche of daliance, and fayre langage.— ^ 

Ful swetely herde he confession : 

Ful plesant was his absolution. 

His tippet was ay farsed ful of knives 

And pinnes for to given fayre wives. 

And certainly he had a mery note : 

Wei coude he singe and plaien on a rote'. 

■ fringed. " fur. where fitheles is Jiddlei, as in the Prol. 

"> V. 193. CI. Oxenf. t. 298. So in the Romam 

^ A friar that had a particular grant for cTjilexandret MSS. Bibl. Bodl. ut supr. 

begging or hearing confessions within cer,- fol. i. b. col. 2. 

*•'? "fttndi^if^r'"" ^ '"■ *"'- ^^' ''»'«' •' e^'' •' "«••"»••• ■ 

' In Urry's Glossary this expression, on I cannot help mentioning in this place, 

a roUf is explained, by rote. But a rote a pleasant mistake of bishop Morgan, in 

is a musical instrument Lydgate, MSS. his translation of the New Testament into 

Fairfax, Bibl. BodL 16. Welch, printed 1567. He translates the 

For ther was Rotys of Almayne, Vials of wrath, in the Revelation, by 

And eke of Arragon and Spaync. Crythan, i. e. Crouds or Fiddles, Rev. v. 8. 

The Greek is 0taXac Now it is probable 

Again, in the same manuscript, ^hat the bishop translated only from the 

Harpys, fitheles, and eke rotys, English, where he found vials, which ht 

Wei according to ther notys : took for viols. 


Of yeddinges" he bare utterly the pris. — 
Ther n'as no man no wher so vertuous ; 
He was the beste begger in all his hous*. — 
Somewhat he lisped for his wantonnesse, 
To make his English swete upon his tonge ; 
And in his harping, whan that he hadde songe, 
His eyen twinkeled in his hed aright 
As don the sterres in a frosty nighU* 

With these unhallowed and untrue sons of the church is contrasted 
the Parsoune, or parish-priest : in describing whose sanctity, simplicity, 
sincerity, patience, industry, courage, and conscientious impartiality, 
Chaucer shows his good sense and good heart Dryden imitated this 
character of the Good Parson, and is said to have applied it to bishop 

The character of the Squire teaches us the education and requisite 
accomplishments of young gentlemen in the gallant reign of Edward 
the Third. But it is to be remembered, that our squire is the son of a 
knight, who has performed feats of chivalry in every part of the world ; 
which the poet thus enumerates with great dignity and simplicity. 

At Alisandre' he was whan it was wonne, 

Ful often time he hadde the bord begonne% 

Aboven alle nations in Pruce*. 

In Lettowe^ hadde he reysed and in Ruce:* 

No cristen man so ode of his degre 

In Gemade, at the siege eke hadde he be 

Of Algesir*, and ridden in Belmarie^ 

At Leyes^ was he, and at Satalie^, 

■ yelding, i. e. dalliance. [The Prompt. ^ Speght supposes it to be that country 

Parv. makes yedding to be the same as in Barbary which is called Benamarln. 

gfsie, which it explains thus : geesi or ro- It is mentioned again in the Knight*s Tale, 

maunce, fiesHo. So that ofyeddingea may v. 2632. p. 20. Urr. 
perhaps mean of story-telling.— T.] Nc in Bahnarie ther is no lion, 

I convent. " v. 208. That huntid is, &c. 

See this phrase explained vol. i. p. 1 74. „ v i. * i » -« «<«»Unt«ir« it ^a 

note *. I will here add a similar eipres- ^ '^^^^^ *^ ^*^"^ 7* TS.!!^ P^rhaoi a 

sion from Oower, Conf. Amant lib, viU. ^ «<>™f TTJ^n^ fProissart r^k 

fol. 177 b. edit. BertheL 1554. comiption for B«^»>«"% .^^'^^^^^^ 

» J 1.J 1. .. i. ... V .1 o"» »* among the kingdoms of Attica . 

—Badhismarshallofhishall Thuncs, Bovgie, Maroch, Bellemarhtc, 

To setten him in such degre, Tremessen. The battle of Benamarin is 

That he upon him my ght se. ^^ ^,y ^ j^te author of Fiage de Espanna, 

The kyng was soon&sette and served : p^ ^3. n. 1. to have been so called: " por 

And he which had his prise deserved, j,aber quedallo en ella Albohacen, Rey de 

After the kyngis own worde, Marruccos del linage de Aben Marin." 

Was made begyn a royddle horde. Perhaps therefore the dominions of tliat 

That is, «*he was seated in the middle of family in Africa might be called abusively 

the table, a place of distinction and dig- Benamarin, and by a further corruption 

nity." « Prussia.. Belmarie. — T.] 

' Lithuania. " Russia. * Some suppose it to be Lavissa, a city 

• A city of Spain ; perhaps Gibraltar on the continent, near Rhodes. Otiiert 

[Algesiras; a Spanish town on the oppo- Lybissa, a city of Bithynia. 
•itesideof the bay of Gibraltar.— Price.] * A city in Anatolia, called Atalia. 

VOL. II. p 


Whan they were wonne : and in the grei^ see : 

At many a noble armee hadde he be : 

At mortal batailles had he ben fiftene, 

And foughten for our faith at Tramissene* 

In lystes thries, and ay slain his fo. 

This ilkd worthy Knight hadde ben also 

Sometime with the lord of Palatie^: 

Agens another hethen in Turkie. 

And evermore he hadde a sovereine pris. 

And though that he was worthy he was wise.^ 

The poet in some of thefte lines implies, that after the Christians were 
driven out of Palestine, the English knights of his days joined the 
knights of Livonia and Prussia, and attacked the pagans of Lithuania, 
and its adjacent territories. Lithuania was not converted to Christianity 
till towards the close of the fourteenth century. Prussian targets are 
mentioned, as we have before seen, in the Knight's Tale. Thomas 
duke of Gloucester, youngest Bon of king Edward the Third, and Henry 
earl of Derby, afterwards king Henry the Fourth, travelled into Prussia: 
and in conjunction with the grand Masters and Knights of Prussia and 
Livonia, fought the infidels of Lithuania. Lord Derby was greatly in- 
strumental in taking Vilna, the capital of that country, in the year 
1390*. Here is a seeming compliment to some of these expeditions. 
This invincible and accomplished champion afterwards tells the heroic 
tale of Palamom and Arcitb. His son the Squier, a youth of twenty 
years, is thus delineated. 

And he hadde be somtime in chevachie'' 
In Flandres, in Artois, and in Picardie: 
And borne him wel, as of so litel space, 
In hope to stonden in his ladies grace. 
Embrouded was he as it were a mede 
Alle ful of freshe floures white and rede. 

Many of theie places are mentioned in I am inclined, in the second verse follow- 

the history of the Crusades. ing, to read " Greke sea.*' Leyit is the 

[The gulf and castle of Satalia are men- town of Layas in Armenia.— Additions.] 
tioned by Benediotus Abbas, in the Cru- * " In the holy war at Thrasimene, a 

sade under the year 1 191. ** Et cum rex city in Barbary." 
Francise recessisset ab Antiochet, statim ' Palathia, a city in Anatolia. See 

intravit guljfum SATHALiiB. — Sathalia Froissart, iii. 40. 
Castellum est optimum, unde guIAas ille ' against, 

nomen accepit; et super gulfum ilium ^v. 51. , 

sunt duo Castella et Vills, et utrumque ' See Hakluyt's Voyages, i. 12S seq. 

dicitur Satalia. Sed unum illorum est edit. 1598. See also Hakluyt's account 

desertum, et dicitur Vetus Satalia quod of the conquest of Prussia by the Dutch 

piratse destruzerunt, et alteram Nova Sa- Knights Hospitalaries of Jerusalem, ibid. 
TALIA dicitur, quod Manuel imperator ^ Chivalry, riding, exercises of horse- 

ConstantinopoKs firmavit." Vit. et Gest. manship, Compl. Mar. Yen. v. 144. 
Henr. et Ric. IL p. 680. Afterwards he 

mentions Mare Graeum, p. 683. That is, Ciclinius riding in his cMvauchU 

the Mediterranean from Sicily to Cyprus. From Venus ' 


Singing he was or floytyng alle the day» 

He was as freshe as is the moneth of May. 

Short was his goune with sieves long and wide, 

Wei coude he sitte on hors, and fayre ri4e. 

He coude songes make, and wel endite, 

Juste, and eke dance, and well pourtraie, and write.^ 

To this young man the poet, with great observance of decorum, gives 
the tale of Cambuscan, the next in knightly dignity to that of Palamon 
and Arcite. He is attended by a yeoman, whose figure revives the 
ideas of the forest laws. 

And he was cladde in cote and hode of grene : 
A sheiF of peacocke ar^'es bright and kene.* 
Under his belt he bare ful thriftily: 
Wel coude he dresse his takel yemanly : 
His arwes drouped not with fetheres lowe; 
And in his bond he bare a mighty bowe. 
Upon his arm he bare a gaie bracer™, 
And by his side a swerd and a bokeler. — 
A Cristofre° on his brest of silver shene: 
A home he bare, the baudrik was of grene.® 

The character of the Reve, an officer of much greater trust and 
authority during the feudal constitution than at present, is happily pic- 
tured. His attention to the care and custody of the manors, the pro- 
duce of which was then kept in hand for furnishing his lord's table, 
perpetually employs his time, preys upon his thoughts, and makes hini 
lean and choleric He is the terror of bailiffo and hinds; and is re- 
markable for his circumspection, vigilance, and subtlety. He is never 
in arrears, and no auditor is able to over-reach or detect him in his ac- 
counts: yet he makes more commodious purchases for himself than for 
his master, without forfeiting the good will or bounty of the latter. 
Amidst these strokes of satire, Chaucer's genius for descriptive paint- 

^ ▼. 85. bows, remaining over and above three 

> Comp. GuU Waynflete, episc. Win- hundred and seyenty-one delivered to the 

ton. an. 1471. (supr. citat) Among the bishop's vassals tempore guerre. Under 

stores of the bishop's castle of Farnham. the same title occur cross-bows made of 

** ArcuM cum ckordis. Et red. comp. de horn. Arrows with feathers of the pea- 

xxiv. arcubus cum xxiv. chordis de re- cock occur in Lydgate's Chronicle of 

manentia. — Sagiita magna, Et de cxiiv. Troy, B. iii. cap. 22. sign. O iii. edit 1555. 

iagittis magnis barbatis cum pennis pa- foL 
vonum.** In a Computue of bishop Ger- ^ , .»^u«r. 

22^ TX'S^Ttorrif'thf bi.te 0!^J.^X^l^, Trow. ken.. 

Styles is, Cauda pawmum, which I sup- *"*"*» ®^* 

pose were used for feathering arrows. In "* armour for the arms. 

the articles of jirma, which are part of the " A saint who presided over the wea« 

episcopal stores of the said ca&tle, I find ther. The patron of field sports. 

enumerated one thousand four hundred ® v. 103. 

and twenty^one great arrows for cross- 

P 2 


ing breaks forth in this simple and beautiful deseription of the Reve's 
rural habitation. 

His wonningP was ful fayre upon an heth» 
With gren^ trees yshadewed was his place.^ 

In the Clerke of Oxenforde our author glances at the inattention 
paid to literature, and the unprofitableness of philosophy. He is ema- 
ciated with study, clad in a thread-bare cloak, and rides a steed lean as 
a rake. 

For he hadde geten him yet no benefice, 
Ne was nought worldly to have an office: 
For him was lever' han at his beddes hed 
A twenty bokes, clothed in black or red, 
Of Aristotle and his philosophic. 
Then robes riche, or fidel", or sautrie : 
But allbe that he was a philosophre. 
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre.* 

His unwearied attention to logic had tinctured his conversation with 
much pedantic formality, and taught him to speak on all subjects in a 
precise and sententious style.* Yet his conversation was instructive : 
and he was no less willing to submit than to conmiunicate his opinion 
to others. 

Souning in moral vertue was his speche, 
And gladly wolde he leme, and gladly teche.° 

The perpetual importance of the Serjeant of La we, who by habit 
or by affectation has the faculty of appearing busy when he has nothing 
to do, is sketched with the spirit and conciseness of Horace. 

No wher so besy a man as he ther n*as, 
And yet he semed besier than he was.^ 

» dwelUng. * ▼. 608. tenie. Mr. Warton will excuse me for 

' rather. luggesting these explanations of this pas* 

* fiddle. See snpr. p. 208, note'. ssge in lieu o£ those which he has given. 
^ V. 293. Or it may he explained, The credit of good letters is concerned 

" Tet he could not find the philosopher's that Chaucer should not be supposed to 

stone." have made a pedantic formality and a pre- 

* [This opinion is founded on the fol- dse sententious style on all subjects the 
lowing passage : characteristics of a scholar. — T yr whitt.] 

Not .word q>.ke he more then wunede I "^^^^ „ , „ ^ „ ^ 

And that WM »id In fonnemnd reverence ^ ^ , ^ , j 

And Aort and quicke «id M of wo. J^^, ^ ^^ ,„,„ ^ din^nte. concern- 

*^*' ing the meaning or etymology of porvM ; 

Mr. Tyrwhitt has given a happier and un- from which parvUia^ the name for the 

questionably a correcter interpretation of public schools in Oxford, is derived. But 

these lines: "In forme and reverence:" I will observe, that jMims is mentioned as 

with propriety and modesty. In the next a court or portico before the church of 

line, " fVil of high sentence " means only, Notre Dame at Paris, in John de Meun's 

I apprehepd, Aill of high or excellent part of the Roman dc la Rose ,v. 12529. 


There is some humour in making our lawyer introduce the language 
of his pleadings into common conversation. He addresses the hoste, 

Hoste, quoth he, depardeuxjeo assents 

The affectation of talking French was indeed general, but it is here 
appropriated and in character. 

Among the rest, the character of the Hoste, or master of the Ta- 
barde inn where the pilgrims are assembled, is conspicuous. He has 
much good sense, and discovers great talents for managing and regu- 
lating a large company; and to him we are indebted for the happy pro- 
posal of obliging every pilgrim to tell a story during their journey to 
Canterbury. His interpositions between the tales- are very useful and 
enlivening ; and he ia something like the chorus on the Grecian stage. 
He is of great service in encouraging each person to begin his part, in 
conducting the scheme with spirit, in making proper observations on 
the merit or tendency of the several stories, in settling disputes which 
must naturally arise in the course of such an entertainment, and in 
connecting all the narratives into one continued system. His love of 
good cheer, experience in marshalling guests, address, authoritative de- 
portment, and facetious disposition, are thus expressively displayed by 

Gret chere made eur Hoste everich on, 
And to the souper sette he us anon ; 
And served us with vitaille of the beste : 
Strong was his win, and wel to drinke us leste^ 
A semely man our Hostd was with alle 
For to han ben a marshal in a halle. 

A Paris n*eust hommei ife femme nioui Mr. Barrington*8 Observations on 

Au .parvu devant Nostre Dame. the antienC Statutes. 

[This subject is better discussed (says 

The passage is thus translated by Chaucer, Mr. Douce) in Staveley's History of 

Rom. R. V. 7157. Churches, p. 157. He thinks the term ii 

Ther n'as no wight in all Paris ^^^ P««^ pueris, i. e. the children who 

Before our Ladie at Parvis. ^^^^ taught in a certain part of the church 

BO appropriated; as appears from the quo* 

The word is supposed to be contracted tation above cited in the note from Blom- 

from Paradise. This perhaps signified an field. Herbert the press-historian adds, 

ambulatory. Many of our old religious that Minster-church in the isle of Thanet, 

houses had a place called Paradise. In and St Dunstan's in the East, London, 

the year 1300, children were taught to have portions of them assigned for schools; 

read and sing in the ParvU of St Martin's and no doubt but there are several others 

church at Norwich. Blomf. Norf ii. 748. which have the same. — I can add from 

Our Seijeant is afterwards said to have re- my own knowledge, that the chapel at 

ceiyed many fees and robest v. Z\9» The Hnghington in the county of Lincoln 

seijeants and all the officers of the supe- was appropriated to the purposes of a 

rior courts of law antiently received win- school, and that King-street chapel, West- 

ter and summer robes from the king's minster, has a portion of its structure set 

wardrobe. He is likewise said to cite apart for such purpose; for I received the 

cases and decisions, " that from the time greater share of my education in both 

of king William were full," V. 326. For those places, — Pabk«] 
this line see the very learned and inge- * v. 309. ^ " we liked." 


A larg^ man be was, with eyen stepe, 
A fairer burgeis is ther non in Cbepe'. 
Bold of hb specbe, and wise, and wel ytaught, 
And of manhood him lacked righte naught* 
Eke therto was he right a mery man, &c.* 

Chaucer 8 scheme of the Canterbury Tales was evidently left un- 
finished. It was intended by our author, that every pilgrim should like- 
wise tell a Tale on their return from Canterbury **. A poet who lived 
soon after the Canterbury Tales made their appearance, seems to 
have designed a supplement to this deficiency, and with this view to 
have written a Tale called the Marc haunt's Second Tale, or the 
History of Beryn. It was first pnnted by Urry, who supposed it to 
be Chaucer's*'. In the Prologue, which is of considerable length, there 
is some humour and contrivance ; in which the author, happily enough, 
continues to characterise the pilgrims, by imagining what each did, and 
how each behaved, when they all arrived at Canterbury. After dinner 
was ordered at their inn, they all proceed to the cathedral. At enter- 
ing the church one of the monks sprinkles them with holy water. The 
Knight with the better sort of the company goes in great order to the 
shrine of Thomas a Becket. The Miller and his companions run staring 
about the church : they pretend to blazon the arms painted in the glass 
windows, and enter into a dispute in heraldry : but the Hoste of the 
Tabarde reproves them for their improper behaviour and impertinent 
discourse, and directs them to the martyr's ^rine. When all had finished 
their devotions, they return to the inn. In the way thither they pur- 
chase toys for which that city was famous, called Canterbury brockis^ 
and here much facetiousness passes betwixt the Frere and the Somp- 
nour, in which the latter vows revenge on the former, for telling a Tale 
so palpably levelled at his profession, and protests he will retaliate on 
their return by a more severe story. When dinner is ended> the Hoste 
of the Tabarde thanks all the company in form for their several Tales. 
The party then separate till supper-time by agreement. The Knight 
goes to survey the walls and bulwarks of the city, and explains to his 
son the Squier the nature and strength of them. Mention is here made 

* Cheapside. * Prol v. 749. Tales, MSS. Harl. 1758. fol. membran. 

* Or rather, two on their way thither, These Tales were supposed to be jpoAren, 
and two on their return. Only Chaucer not written. But we have in the Plow- 
himself tells two tales. The poet says, man's, *^ For my writing me allow," 
that there were twenty-nine pilgrims in v. 3309. Urr. And in other places. ** For 
company; but in the Characters he my writing if I have blame." — "Of my 
describes more. Among the Tales which writing have me excus'd." etc. See a 
remain, there are none of the Prioresse's Note at the beginning of the Cant Tales, 
Chaplains, the Haberdasher, Carpynter, MSS. Laud. K. 50. Bibl. Bodl. written by 
Webbe, Dyer, Tapiser, and Hoste. The John Barcham. But the discussion of 
Chanon's Yeman has a Tale, but no these points properly belongs to nn editor 
Character. The Plowman's Tale is of Chaucer. [See Mr. Tyrwhitt's Intro- 
rcrtainly supposititious. See supr. p. 101. ductory Discourse to theCanterbury Tales. 
And Obs. Spens. ii. 317. It is omitted in — Price.] 

the best manuscript of the Canterbury * Urr. Chauc. p. 595. 


of great guns. The Wife of Bath is too weary to walk far ; she pro- 
poses to the Prioresse to divert themselves in the garden, which abounds 
with herbs proper for making salves. Others wander about the streets. 
The Pardoner has a low adventure, which ends much to his disgrace. 
The next morning they proceed on their return to Southwark : and our 
genial master of the Tabarde, just as they leave Canterbury, by way 
of putting the company into good humour, begins a panegyric on the 
morning and the month of April, some lines of which I shall quote, as 
a specimen of our author's abilities in poetical description^. 

Lol how the seson of the yere, and Averell** shouris, 

Doith^ the bushis bnrgyn' out blossomes and flouris. 

Lo ! the prymerosys of the yere, how fresh they bene to sene, 

And many othir flouris among the grassis grene. 

Lo I how they fringe and sprede, and of divers hue, 

Beholdith and seith, both white, red, and blue. 

That lusty bin and comfortabyll for mannis sight, 

For I say for myself it makith my hert to light'. 

On casting lots, it falls to the Marchaunt to tell the first tale, which 
then follows. 1 cannot allow that this Prologue and Tale were written 
by Chaucer. Yet I believe them to be nearly coeval. 


Chaucer continued. State of French and Italian Poetry ; and their 
influence on Chaucer^ Rise of Allegorical Composition in the Dark 
Affes, Love-courtSy and Love-fratemHiesy in France* Tales of the 
Troubadours. Dolopathos. Boccacio, Dante^ and Petrarch. Decline 
of Provencial Poetry. Succeeded in France by a new species. Frois- 
sart. The Floure and the Leafe. Floral Games in France. AUe- 
fforical Beings. 

It is not my intention to dedicate a volume to Chaucer, how much 
soever he may deserve it ; nor can it be expected, that, in a work of this 
general nature, I should enter into a critical examination of all Chaucer's 
pieces. Enough has been said to prove, that in elevation and elegance, 
in harmony and perspicuity of versification, he surpasses his predeces- 
sors in an infinite proportion ; that his genius was universal, and adapted 
to themes of unbounded variety; that his merit was not less in painting 
familiar manners with humour and propriety, than in moving the pas- 

* There is a good description of a ma- * April. • malce. 

fical palace, ▼. 1973—2070. ' shoot. * y,690. 


sions, and in representing tbe beautiful or the grand objects of nature 
with grace and sublimity ; in a word, that he appeared with all the 
lustre and dignity of a true poet, in an age which compelled him to 
struggle with a barbarous language, and a national want of taste ; and 
when to write verses at all, was regarded as a singular qualification. It 
is true,* indeed, that he lived at a time when the French and Italians had 
made considerable advances and improvements in poetry : and although 
proofs have already been occasionally given of his imitations from these 
sources, I shall close my account of him with a distinct and compre- 
hensive view of the nature of the poetry which subsisted in France and 
Italy when he wrote ; pointing out, in the mean time, how far and in 
what manner the popular models of those nations contributed to form 
his taste, and influence his genius. 

I have already mentioned the troubadours of Provence, and have 
observed that they were fond of moral and allegorical fables ^ A taste 
for this sort of composition they partly acquired by reading Boethius, 
and the Psychomachia of Prudentius, iwo favorite classics of the 
dark ages; and partly from the Saracens their neighbours in Spain, 
who were great inventors of apologues. The French have a very early 
metrical romance De Fortune et de Felicite, a translation from 
Boethius's book de Consolatione, by Reynault de Louens a Domi- 
nican friar ^. From this source, among many others of the Provencial 
poems, came the Tournament of Antichrist above-mentioned, which 
contains a combat of the Virtues and Vices^; the Romaunt of Richard 
de Lisle, in which Modesty fighting with Lust** is thrown into the 
river Seine at Paris; and, above all, the Romaunt of the Rose, trans- 
lated by Chaucer, and already mentioned at large in its proper place. 
Visions were a branch of this species of poetry, which admitted the 
most licentious excursions of fancy in forming personifications, and in 
feigning imaginary beings and ideal habitations. Under these we may 
rank Chaucer's House of Fame, which I have before hinted to have 
been probably the production of Provence f. 

" See vol. i. p. 147 et seq. vien que plus n'y a Honte dans Paris/' 

^ See Mein. Lit torn, xvtii. p. 741. 4to. The author lived about the year 1300. 
and torn. vii. 293. 294. I have before men- f [The ingenious editor of the Canter- 

tioned John of Meun's translation of Boe- bury Tales treats the notion, that Chaucer 

thius. It is in verse. John de Langres is imitated the Provencial poets, as totally 

said to have made a translation in prose, void of foundation. He says, '*I have not 

about 1336. It is highly probable that observed in any of his writings a single 

Chaucer translated Boethius from some of phrase or word which has the least ap- 

the French translations. In the Bodleian pearance of having been fetched from the 

library there is an Explanatio of Boe- South of the Loire. With respect to the 

thius's Consolation by our countryman Ni- manner and matter of his compositions, 

cholas Trivett, who died before 1329. till some clear instance of imitation be 

* See iupr. p. 59. produced, I shall be slow to believe, that 
[The Tournoiement de TAntichrist is in either he ever copied the poets of Pro- 
net a Provencial poem. — Oouce.] vence ; with whose works, 1 apprehend, he 

* PuT£Ui£. Properly Bawdry, Obsceni- had very little, if any acquaintance." vol. i. 
ty. MoDKSTY is drowned in the river,which Append. Pref. p. xzzvi. I have advanced 
gives occasion to this conclusion, " Dont the contrary doctrine; at least by implica- 



But the principal subject of their poems, dictated in great measure 
by the spirit of chivalry, was love ; especially among the troubadours 
of rank and distinction, whose castles being crowded with ladies, pre- 
sented perpetual scenes of the most splendid gallantry'. This passion 
they spiritualised into various metaphysical refinements, and filled it 
with abstracted notions of visionary perfection and felicity. Here too 
they were perhaps influenced by their neighbours the Saracens, whose 
philosophy chiefly consisted of fantastic abstractions. It is manifest, 
however, that nothing can exceed the profound pedantry with which 
they treated this favorite argument. They defined the essence and 
characteristics of true love with all the parade of a Scotist in his pro- 
fessorial chair ; and bewildered their imaginations in speculative ques- 
tions concerning the most desperate or the most happy situations of a 
sincere and sentimental heart*. But it would b^ endless, and indeed 
ridiculous, to describe at length the systematical solemnity with which 
they clothed this passion'. The Romaunt of the Rose, which I 
have just alleged as a proof of their allegorising turn, is not less an in- 
stance of their affectation in writing on this subject ; in which the poet, 
under the agency of allegorical personages, displays the gradual ap- 
proaches and impediments to fruition, and introduces a regular dispu- 
tation conducted with much formality between Reason and a lover. 
Chaucer's Testament of Love is also formed on this philosophy of 

tion : and I here beg leave to explain my- 
self on a subject materially affecting the 
system of criticism that has been formed 
on Chaucer*8 works. 1 have never affirm- 
ed, that Chaucer imitated the Provencial 
bards ; although it is by no means impro- 
bable, that he might have known their 
talcs. But as the peculiar nature of the 
Provencial poetry entered deeply into the 
substance, cast, and character of some of 
those French and Italian models, which he 
is allowed to have followed, he certainly 
may be said to have copied, although not 
immediately, the matter and vianner of 
these writers. I have called his House of 
Fame originally a Provencial composition. 
I did not mean that it was written by a 
Provencial troubadour ; but that Chaucer's 
original was compounded of the capricious 
mode of fabling, and that extravagant style 
of fiction, which constitute the essence of 
the Provencial poetry. As to the Floure 
and the Leafe, which Dryden pronounces 
to have been composed after their manner^ 
it is framed on the old allegorising spirit 
of the Provencial writers, refined and dis- 
figured by the fopperies of the French po- 
ets in the fourteenth century. The ideas of 
these fiiblers had been so strongly imbibed, 
that they continued to operate long after 
Petrarch had introduced a more rational 
method of conipoi>Uion. — Additions.] 

* In the mean time the greatest liber- 
ties and indecencies were practised and en- 
couraged. These doctrines did not influ- 
ence the manners of the times. In an old 
French tale, a countess in the absence of 
her lord having received a knight into her 
castle, and conducted him in great state 
to his repose, will not suffer him to sleep 
alone : with infinite politeness she orders 
one of her damsels, la plus cortoUe ei la 
plus bele, into his bed-chamber, avec ce 
chevalier gesir, Mem. Cheval. ut supr. 
tom. ii. p. 70. Not 17. 

' This infatuation continued among the 
French down to modern times. ** Les gens 
de quality," says the ingenious M. de la 
Curne de Sainte Palaye, *' conscrvoient 
encore ce gout que leurs p^res avoient pris 
dans nos anclennes cours : ce fut sans doute 
pour complaire ft son fondateur, que 1' Aca- 
demic Franpoise traita, dans ses premiers 
stances, plusieurs sujets qui concemoient 
TAmour ; et Ton vit encore dans I'hdtel 
du Longueville les personnes le plus qua- 
lifies et le plus spiritualles du sidde de 
Louis XIV. se disputer A qui commente- 
roit et raffineroit le mieux sur la d^lica- 
tesse du cceur et des sentimens, k qui feroit, 
sur ce chapitre,les distinctions le plus sub- 
tiles." Mem. Cheval. ut supr. tom. ii. P. v. 
pag. 17. 


Gallantry. It is a lover's parody of Boethius's book De Consola- 
TioNB mentioned above. His poem called La Belle Dame sams 
Mercy', and his Assemble of Ladies, are from the same school^. 
Chaucer's Prioresse and Monke, whose lives were devoted to re* 
ligious reflection and the most serious engagements, and while they 
are actually travelling on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of a sainted 
martyr, openly avow the universal influence of love. They exhibit, on 
their apparel, badges entirely inconsistent with their profession, but 
easily accountable for from these principles. The Prioresse wears a 
bracelet on which is inscribed, with a crowned A, Amor vitwii omniaK 
The Monke ties his hood with a true-lover's knot.^ The early poets of 
Provence, as I before hinted, formed a society called the Court of 
Love, which gave rise to others in Gascony, Languedoc, Poictou, and 
Dauphiny : and Picardy, the constant rival of Provence, had a similar 
institution called Plaids et Gieux sous rOrmeL These establishments 
consisted of ladies and gentlemen of the highest rank, exercised and 
approved in courtesy, who tried with the most consummate ceremony, 
and decided with supretne authority, cases in love brought before their 
tribunaL Martial d'Avergne, an old French poet, for the diversion 
and at the request of the countess of Beaujeu, wrote a poem entitled 
Arrbsta Amorum, or the Decrees of Love, which is a humorous de- 
scription of the Plaids of Picardy. Fontenelle has recited one of their 
processes, which conveys an idea of all the rest^ A queen of France 
was appealed to from an unjust sentence pronounced in the love-pleas, 
where the countess of Champagne presided. The queen did not choose 
to interpose in a matter of so much consequence, nor to reverse the de- 
crees of a court whose decision was absolute and final. She answered, 
** God forbid, that I should presume to contradict the sentence of the 
countess of Champagne I " Thb was about the year 1206. Chaucer 
has a poem called the Court of Love, which is nothing more than 
the love-court of Provence": it contains the twenty statutes which that 
court prescribed to be universally observed under the severest penal- 
ties®. Not long after\i'ards, on the same principle, a society was esta- 

■ Translated or imitated from a French ^ So is Gower's Confesaio Aroantis, at 

poem of Alain Chartier, v. 11. we shall see hereafter. 

Which Maistir Alayne made of remem- ^ ^* * J 

Chief secretary to the king of France. (En^'pa^^TuI"'''^ ^' ^^' '^°*' *"' 
He was secretary to Charles the Sixth and " See also Chaucer's Ten Command- 
Seventh. But he is chiefly famous for his ments of Love, p. 554. Urr. 
prose. [Alain Chartier was certainly li- ^ Vie de Petrarque, torn. ii. Not xix. 
▼ing near^/y years after Chaucer's death, p. 60. Probably the Cour d* Amour was the 
which makes it quite incredible, that the origin of that called XaCo»r^iiior«itM,e8ta- 
latter should have translated any thing of blished under the gallant reign of Charles 
his. In MS. Harl. 372. La belle Dame sans theSixth, in the year 1410. The latter had 
Mercie is attributed to Sir Richard Ros. — the most considerable families of France 
Tyrwhitt. Mr. Tyrwhitt also reelects the for iu members, and a parade of grand offl- 
Assemblee of Ladies from the list of Chau- cers, like those in the royal household and 
eer's works.~PRicE.] courts of law. See Hist Acad. Inscript 

sjser. XVIII.] tauss of thb troubadours. 219 

blished in Languedoc, cfdled the Fraternity of the Penitents of Love* 
Enthusiasm was here carried to as high a pitch of extravagance as ever 
it was in religion. It was a contention of ladies and gentlemen, who 
should best sustain the honour of their amorous fanaticism. Their ob- 
ject was to prove the excess of their love, by showing with an invin- 
cible fortitude and consistency of conduct, with no less obstinacy of 
opinion, that they could bear extremes of heat and cold. Accordingly 
the resolute knights and esquires, the dames and damsels, who had the 
hardiness to embrace this severe institution, dressed themselves during 
the heat of summer in the thickest mantles lined with the warmest fur. 
In this they demonstrated, according to the antient poets, that love works 
the most wonderful and extraordinary changes. In winter, their love 
again perverted the nature of the seasons : they then clothed them- 
selves in the lightest and thinnest stuffs which could be procured. It 
was a crime to wear fur on a day of the most piercing cold ; or to ap- 
pear with a hood, cloak, gloves, or muff. The flame of love kept them 
sufficiently warm. Fires, all the winter, were utterly banished from 
their houses ; and they dressed their apartments with evergreens. In 
the most intense frost their beds were covered only with a piece of 
canvass. It must be remembered, that in the mean time they passed 
the greater part of the day abroad, in wandering about from castle to 
castle ; insomuch that many of these devotees, during so desperate a 
pilgrimage, perished by the inclemency of the weather, and died mar- 
tyrs to their profession p. 

The early universality of the French language greatly contributed to 
facilitate the circulation of the poetry of the troubadours in other 
countries. The Frank ish language was familiar even at Constanti- 
nople and its dependent provinces in the eleventh century, and long 
afterwards. Raymond Montaniero, an historian of Catalonia, who 
wrote about the year 1300, says that the French tongue was as well 
known in the Morea and at Athens as at Paris : ^' £ parlavan axi 
belle Francis com dins en Paris <i." The oldest Italian poetry seems to 
be founded on that of Provence. The word Sonnet was adopted 
from the French into the Italian versification. It occurs in the Ro- 
man DE LA Rose, '* Lais d'amour et Sonnets courtois'." Boccacio 

Tom. vii. p. 287 ceq. 4to. See also Hist manuscripts with great care and expense. 
Langued. torn. iii. p. 25 seq. [The only authentic source of information 
The most uniform and unembarrassed on this subject is a work written about the 
view of the establishment and usages of year 1170, and published (among other 
this Court, which I can at present recol- places) at Dorpmund 1610. Erotica seu 
lect, is thrown together from scattered and Amatoria Andreae capellarii regis, &c. See 
scarce materials by the ingenious author of Roquefort's Poesies des Troubadours ; vou 
Vie de Petrarque, torn. ii. p. 45 seq. Not. Aretins Auspriiche der Minnegerichte, 
xix. But for a complete account of these Miinchen 1813; and No. II. of the Retro- 
institutions, and other curious particulars spective Review. — Price.] 
relating to the antient manners and antient ^ See D. Vaisette, Hist, du LangaedoC| 
poetry of the French, the public waits with tom. iv. p. 184 seq. 
impatience for the history of the Proven- ^ Hist Arragon. c. 261. 
cial poets written by Monv. de la Cume de ' v. 720. 
Sainte Palaye, who has copied most of their 




copied many of his best Tales from the troubadours*. Several of 
Dante's fictions are derived from the same fountain. Dante has ho- 
noured some of them with a seat in his Paradise^ ; and in his tract Ds 
VuLGARi Eloquentia, has mentioned Thiebault king of Navarre as 
a pattern for writing poetry™. With regard to Dante's capital work the 
Inferno, Raoul de Houdane, aProvencial [French] bard about the 

* Particularly from Rutebeuf and Her- 
bers. Rutebeuf wa« living in the year 
1310. He wrote tales and stories of en- 
tertainment in verse. It is certain that 
Boccario took, from this old French min- 
strel, Nov. X. Giorn. ix and perhaps two 
or three others. Herbers lived about the 
year 1200. [1260. See Roquefort ut supr. 
p. 172.] He wrote a French romance, in 
verse, called the Seven Sages of Greece, or 
Dolopatho9, He translated it from the 
Latin of Dom Johans, a monk j%i the ab- 
bey of Haute-selve. 

[Uns blancs moine de bele vie 
De Halte-Selve I'abeie 
A ceste histoire novel^e 
Par bel latin I'a orden^e 
Herbers le velt en romans traire 
Et d.e romaiis un livre faire.] 

It has great variety, and contains several 
agreeable stories, pleasant adventures, 
emblems, and proverbs. Boccacio has 
taken A-om it four Tales, viz. Nov. ii. 
Giorn. iii. Nov. iv. Giorn. vii. Nov. viii. 
Giorn. viii. and the Tale of the Boy 
who had never seen a woman, since finely 
touched by Fontaine. An Italian book 
called Brastus is compiled from this Ro- 
man of the Seven Sages. It is said to have 
been first composed by Sandaber the In- 
dian, a writer of proverbs ; that it after- 
wards appeared successively In Hebrew, 
Arabic, Syriac, and Greek ; was at length 
translated into Latin by the monk above 
mentioned, and from thence into French 
by Herbers. It is very probable that the 
monk translated it from some Greek 
manuscript of the dark ages, which Huet 
tays was to be found in some libraries. 
Three hundred years after the Roman 
of Herbers, it was translated into Dutch, 
and again from the Dutch into Latin. 
There is an English abridgement of it, 
which is a story-book for children. See 
Mem. Lit Tom. ii. p. 731. 4to. Fauchet, 
p. 106. 160. Huet, Orig. Fab. Rom. 136. 
Fabric. BibL Gr. z. 339. Massieu, Poes. 
Fr. p. 137. Crescimben. Volg. Poes. Vol. i. 
L. v. p. 332. 

[The ground-work of Dolopathos is 
a Greek story-book called Syntipas, 
often cited by Du Cange, whose copy 
appears to have been translated from the 
Syriac. See Gloss. Med. et Infim. Grae- 

citat. — Ind. Auctor. p. 33. Among the 
Harleian manuscripts is another, which is 
said to be translated from the Persic. 
MSS. Harl. 5560. Fabridus says, that 
Syntipas was printed at Venice, lingua 
vulgari. Bibl. Gr. x. 515. On the whole, 
the plan of Syntipas appears to be exactly 
the same with that of Les Sept Sages, the 
Italian Erasto, and our own little story- 
book the Seven "Wise Masters; except 
that, instead of Diodesian of Rome, the 
king is called Cyrus of Persia ; and, in- 
stead of one Tale, each of the Philoso- 
phers tells two. The circumstance of 
Persia is an argument, that Syntipas was 
originally an oriental composition. See 
what is collected on this curious subject, 
which is intimately concerned with the 
history of tlie invention of the middle 
ages, by the learned editor of the Canter- 
bury Tales, vol. iv. p. 329. There is a 
translation, as I am informed by the same 
writer, of this Romance in octosyllable 
verse, probably not later than the age of 
Chaucer. MSS. Cotton. Galb. E. ix. It 
is entitled " The Proces of the seven 
Sages," and agrees entirely with Les Sept 
Sages de Rome in French prose. MSS. 
Harl. 3860. See also MSS. C. C. Coll. 
Oxon. 252. in membran. 4to. The Latin 
book, called Historia Septem Sapientum 
Romae, is not a very scarce manuscript : 
it was printed before 1500. I think there 
are two old editions among More*s books 
at Cambridge ; particularly one printed 
in quarto at Paris, in 1493. — Addi- 
tions.] [See the Introduction to the 
Seven Wise Masters in Mr. Ellis's Spe- 
cimens of English Metrical Romances, 
and Mr. Weber's edition of the same ro- 
mance. — Price.] 

Many of the old French minstrels 
deal much in Tales and novels of hu- 
mour and amusement, like those of Boc- 
cacio's Decameron. They call them 

[It is from these Fabliaux that Boc- 
cacio has borrowed many of his Tales, and 
not from the troubadours, who were, more 
properly speaking, the poets of Provence. 

< See vol. i. p. 122. Compare Cres- 
cimben. Volg. Poes. L. i. c. xiv. p. 162. 

" See p. 43. 45. And Commed. lu- 
fern. cant. xxii. 


year 1180, wrote a poem entitled. Lb Voye ou le Songe cI'Enfer". 
Both Boccacio and Dante studied at Paris, where they much improved 
their taste by reading the songs of Thiebauld king of Navarre, Gaces 
Bniles, Chatelain de Coucy, and other antient French fabulists^. Pe- 
trarch's refined ideas of love are chiefly drawn from those amorous 
reveries of the Provencials which I have above described ; heightened 
perhaps by the Platonic system, and exaggerated by the subtilising 
spirit of Italian fancy. Varchi and Pignatelli have written professed 
treatises on the nature of Petrarch's love. But neither they, nor the 
rest of the Italians, who, to this day, continue to debate a point of so 
much consequence, consider how powerfully Petrarch must have been 
influenced to talk of love in so peculiar a strain by studying the poets 
of Provence. His Trionfo di Amore has much imagery copied 
from Anselm Fayditt, one of the most celebrated of these bards. He 
has likewise many imitations from the works of Amaud Daniel, who is 
called the most eloquent of the troubadours^. Petrarch, in one of his' 
sonnets, represents his mistress Laura sailing on the river Rhone, in 
company with twelve Provencial ladies, who at that time presided over 
the Court of Love f, 

Pasquier observes, that the Italian poetry arose as the Provencial 
declined*. It is a proof of the decay of invention among the French 
in the beginning of the fourteenth century, that about that period they 
began to translate into prose their old metrical romances ; such as the 
fables of king Arthur, of Charlemagne, of Oddegir the Dane, of Re- 
naud of Montauban, and other illustrious champions, whom their early 
writers had celebrated in rhyme \ At length, about the year 1380, in 
the place of the Provencial a new species of poetry succeeded in 
France, consisting of Chants Royaux^ Balades, Rondeftux, and Pa- 

* Fauch. Rec p. 96. The romance of Perceforresti one of the 

* See Fauchet, Re<5^ p. 47. 116. And largest of the French romances of chi- 
Huet, Rom. p. 121. 108. valry, was written in verse about 1220. 

' See vol. i. p. 122. He lived about It was not till many years afterwards 

1189. Recherch. par Beauchamps, p. 5. translated into prose. M. Falconet, an 

Nostradamus asserts, that Petrarch stole ingenious inquirer into the early iitera- 

many things from a troubadour called ture of France, is of opinion, that the 

Richard seigneur de Barbezeiuz, who is most antient romances, such as that of the 

placed under 1383. Petrarch however Round Table, were first written in Latin 

was dead at tha^ time. prose ; it being well known that Turpin's 

' Sonnet clxxxvili. Dodici Donne, &c. Charlemagne, as it b now extant, was ori- 

The academicians della Criisca in their gtnally composed in that language. He 

Dictionary, quote a manuscript entitled, thinks they were translated into French 

Lihro d'Anutre of the year 1408. It is rhymes, and at last into French prose, 

also referred to by Crescimbeni in his tela que nous Us avons aujourduy. See 

Lives of the Provencial PoeU. It contains Hist Acad. Inscript. vii. 293. But part 

verdicts or determinations in the Court of of this doctrine may be justly doubted. 

Love, ^ With regard to the Chant royal, 

* Pasq. Les Recherch. de la France. Pasquier describes it to be a song in 
vil. 5. p. 609. 611. edit. 1633. fol. honour of God, the holy Virgin, or any 

* These translations, in which the on- other argument of dignity, especially if 
ginals were much enlarged, produced an joined, with distress. It was written in 
infinite number of other romances in heroic stanzas, and closed with a rEnvoi, 
prose ; and the old metrical romances or stanza containing a recapitulation, de- 
soon became unfashionable and neglected. dication, or the like. Chaucer calls the 



[sect. XVIII. 

itorales^. This was distinguished by the appellation of the New Po- 
STRY ; and Froissart, who has been mentioned above chiefly in the cha- 
racter of an historian, cultivated it with so much success, that he has 
been called its author. The titles of Froissart's poetical pieces will 
alone serve to illustrate the nature of this N^w Poetry ; but they 
prove, at the same time, that the Provencial cast of composition still 
continued to prevail. They are, 7%e Paradue of Love, A Pane- 
gyric on the Month of May, the Temple of Honour , The Flower 
of the Daisy y Amorous Lays, Pastorals, the Amorous Ptison, Royal 
Ballads in honour of our Lady, The Ditty of the Amorous Spinett*, 
Virdais, Rondeaus, and The Plea of the Rose and Violet^ Who- 
ever examines Chaucer's smaller pieces f will perceive that they are 
altogether formed on this plan, and often compounded of these ideas. 
Chaucer himself declares, that he wrote 

Many an hyihne for your holidaics 

*That hightin balades, rondils, vi relates ^ 
But above all, Chaucer's Floure and the Leafe, in which an air 
of rural description predominates, and where the allegory is principally 
conducted by mysterious allusions to the virtues or beauties of the vege- 
table world, to flowers and plants, exclusive of its general romantic and 
allegoric vein,' bears a strong resemblance to some of these subjects. 
The poet is happily placed in a delicious arbour, interwoven with eglan- 

Chant royal above mentioned, a Kyngu 
NoU, Mill. T. V. 111. p. 25. His Com- 
piatnt of VenuSf Cuckow and Nightingale, 
and La belle Dame tant Mercy, have all 
a FEnvoi, and belong to this species of 
French verse. His I'Envoi to the Com- 
plaint rf Fenua, or Mare and Venus, ends 
with these lines, v. 79 : 
And eke to me it is a grete penaunce, 
Sith rime in English hath soche scardte, 
To follow word by word the curioeite 
Of gransonflour of them that make in 

Make signifies to write poetry ; and here 
we see that this poem was translated from 
the French. See also Chaucer's Dreame, 
V. 2204. Petrarch has the Envoi. I am 
inclined to think, that Chaucer's Assem* 
ble of Fowles was partly planned in imi> 
tation of a French poem written by Oace 
de la Vigne, Chaucer's cotemporary, enti- 
tled Roman d'Oieeaux, which treaU of the 
nature, properties, and management of all 
birds d« chaste. But this is merely a 
conjecture, for I have never seen the 
French poem. At least there is an evi- 
dent similitude of subject 

" About this time, a Prior of St Ge- 
nevieve at Paris wrote a small treatise 
entitled, L'Jrt de Dietier Ballades bt 
RoNDBLLES. See Mons. Beauch^mps 
Rech. Theatr. p. 88. M. Massieu says 
this is the first Art of Poetry printed 

in France. Hist Poes. Fr. p. 222. See 
L'Art Poetique du Jaques Pellouticr 
du Mons. Lyon, 555. 8vo. Liv. 11. ch. i. 
De l'Ode. 

* [It is difficult to conceive what idea 
Mr. Warton intended to convey to his 
readers in translating Z'aiiiottreM« £«pt- 
nette by " Spinett" The word most 
probably means a ** little thorn," though 
its origin is uncertain. In voLvii. of the 
M^moires de TAcad^mie des Inscriptions, 
p. 287, there is an account of a manuscript 
describing a society called " La Cour 
amoureuse des Rois des Epinettes." — 

* Pasquier, ubi supr. p. 612. who calls 
such pieces mionardises. 

[t Mr. Todd has given a list of the frag- 
ments of Chaucer from a MS. in the Pe- 
pysian collection at Magdalen college 
Cambridge. See his " Illustrations " &c. 
p. 116.— Park.] 

* Here is an elleipsis. He means. And 

' Prol. Leg. G. W. v. 422. He men- 
tions this sort of poetry in the Frankelein*s 
Tale, V. 2493. p. 109. Urr. 

Of which matere [love] mad in he many 

Songis, Complaintis, Roundils, Virelayes. 
Compare Chaucer's Dreme, ▼. 973. In 
the Floure and Leafe we have the words 
of a French Roundcau, v. 177. 


tine. Imaginary troops of knights and ladies advance : some of the 
ladies are crowned with flowers, and others with chaplets of agnus cas- 
tas, and these are respectively subject to a Lady of the Flower, and a 
Lady cf the Leaf^. Some are clothed in green, and others in white, 
Many of the knights are distinguished in much the same manner. But 
others are crowned with leaves of oak or of other trees : others carry 
branches of oak, laurel, hawthorn, and woodbine^. Besides this profu- 
sion of vernal ornaments, the whole procession glitters with gold, pearls, 
rubies, and other costly decorations. / They are preceded by minstrels 
clothed in green and crowned with flowers. One of the ladies sings a 
bargaret, or pastoral, in praise of the daisy. 

A bargaret^ in praising the daisie. 

For as methought among her notis swete 

She said si douce est le margaruite.^ 

This might have been Froissart's song : at least this is one of his sub- 
jects. In the mean time a nightingale, seated in a laurel-tree, whose 
shade would cover a hundred persons, sings the whole service, ^' long- 
ing to May." Some of the knights and ladies do obeysance to the leaf, 
and some to the flower of the daisy. Others are represented as wor- 
shipping a bed of flowers. Flora is introduced " of these flouris god- 
desse." The lady of the leaf invites the lady of the flower to a banquet. 
Under these symbols is much morality couched. The leaf signifies 
perseverance and virtue: the flower denotes indolence and pleasure. 

' In a dedflion of the Court of Love one of hit patronenes. See the Balade 

deed by Fontenelle, the judge ii called £« beginning In Fetn-ere, &c p. 556. Urr. 

Marquit des fieuret et iHolettes, Font, ubi v. 688. Froissart's song in praise of the 

rapr. p. 15. daisy might have the same tendency ; for 

^ V. 270. . he was patronised both by Edward and 

' Rather ^er^ere^^e. A song duBer- PhiHppa. Margaruite'uVTencYiiot Daisy, 

ger, of a shepherd, Chaucer perhaps intends the same compli- 

[Hence also perhaps the Barginet (or ment by the " MargarUe perle," Test, 

pastoral) of Antimachus in England's He- Love, p. 483. coL i. &c Urr. See also 

licon, 1600. Bargenet is mentioned as a Prol. Leg. G. Worn. v. 218. 224. That 

dance by Sir T. Elyot and O. Oascoigne, Prologue has many images like those in 

whence Mr. Steevens conjectured that the the Flower and the Leafe. It was evi- 

phrase might be equivalent to our Nancy dently written after that poem. 
Dawson's jig, and might signify a short [See Le dit de lafieur de Us et de la 

metrical performance as well as a dance. Marguerite, by Guillaume Machaut, Acad. 

See note on the term in Cens. Lit. i. 422. Inscript. xz. p. 381. z. 669. infr. ciiat. 

—Park.] On the whole, it may be doubted whether 

^ v. 350. A panegyric on this, flower either Froissart, or Chaucer, means Mar- 
is again introduced in the Prologue to the garet, countess of Pembroke. For corn- 
Leg, of G. Wom. v. 180. ' pare Append. Pref. Canterb. Tales, vol. i. 
mu^ 1 J • T V r ^ t.*j P* zxxiv. I add, that in the year 1547, 

mat wcl by reason men it calle mate » m- -^ j „• - .»? ^ 

The Dam^,ot el. the *y* <fftkt daie : ^ Mar^u«rUes de, r»nce..e»,tre, ,lh,tre 

The emprii. u>d the Sure, of flouri, .1. **~ * f «7''k ^ ,? ' ''• * 

r * ' * her valet de chambre. It was common m 

France to give the title of Margueritbb 

Speght supposes that he means to pay a to studied panegyrics, and flowery compo- 

compliment to Lady Margaret, countess sitions of every kind, both in prose and 

of Pembroke, king Edward's daughter, verse. — Additions.] 


Among those who are crowned with the leaf, are the knights of king 
Arthur's round table, and Charlemagne's Twelve Peers ; together with 
the knights of the order of the Garter now just established by Edward 
the Third 1. 

But these fancies seem more immediately to have taken their rise 
from the Floral Games instituted in France in the year 1324% which 
filled the French poetry with images of this sort ". They were founded 
by Clementina Isaure countess of Tholouse, and annually celebrated in 
the month of May. She published an edict, which assembled all the 
poets of France in artificial arbours dressed with flowers ; and he that 
produced the best poem was rewarded with a violet of gold. Thei^ 
were likewise inferior prizes of flowers made in silver. In the mean 
time the conquerors were crowned with natural chaplets of their oyrn 
respective flowers. During the ceremony, degrees were also conferred. 
He who had won a prize three times was created a doctor engaye Sciencej 
the name of the poetry of the Provencial troubadours. The instrument 
-of creation was in verse®. This institution, however fantastic, soon be- 
came common through the whole kingdom of Franc'e ; and these roman- 
tic rewards, distributed with the most impartial attention to merit, at 
least infused an useful emulation, and in some measure revived the lan- 
guishing genius of the French poetry. 

The French and Italian poets, whom Chaucer imitates, abound in 
allegorical personages : and it is remarkable, that the early poets of 
Greece and Rome were fond of these creations. Homer has given us, 
Strife, Contention, Fear, Terror, Tumult, Desire, Persuasion, 
and Benevolence. We have in Hesiod, Darkness, and many others, 
if the Shield of Hercules be of his hand. Comus occurs in the Agamem- 
non of iEschylus ; and in the Prometheus of the same poet. Strength 
and Force are two persons of the drama, and perform the capital parts. 
The fragments of Ennius indicate, that his poetry consisted much of 
personifications. He says, that in one of the Carthaginian wars, the 
gigantic image of Sorrow appeared in every place : " Omnibus endo 
locis ingens apparet imago Tristitias." Lucretius has drawn the great 
and terrible figure of Superstition, '^Quse caput e coeli regionibus os- 
tendebat." He also mentions, in a beautiful procession of the Seasons, 
Calor aridus, Hyems, and Algus. He introduces Medicine imUter- 
ing with silent feary in the midst of the deadly pestilence at Athens. It 
seems to have escaped the many critics who have written on Milton's 
noble but romantic allegory of Sin and Death, that he took the person 
of Death from the Alcestis of his favourite tragedian, Euripides, where 
BAN AT02 is a principal agent in the drama. As knowledge and learn- 
ing increase, poetry begins to deal less in imagination ; and these fan- 
tastic beings give way to real manners and living characters. 

I V. 516. 517. 519. Violettes en leur saisons 

"^ Mem. Lit. torn. vii. p. 422. 4to. Et roses blanches et vermeilles, &c. 

' Hence Froissart in the Epinette A- See Mem. Lit. tom. x. p. 665. 287. i*o, 
fitourtfuse, describing his romantic amiiiie- ** Recherches sur les poetes couronnes, 

nieuts, says he was delighted with Mem. Lit tom. x. p. 567. 4to. 

SECT. XIX.] - JOHN 60WBR. 225 


John Gmoer. His character and poems. His tomb. His .Confessio 
Amantis. Its subject and plan. An unsuccessful imitation of the 
Eoman de la Rose. Aristotle s Secretum Secretorum. Chronicles 
of Me middle ages. Cohnna. Romance of Lancelot. The Gesta 
. Romanorum, Shakespeare's caskets. Authors quoted by Gower. 
Chronology of some of Gower* s and Chaucer s poems. The Confessio 
AmanHs preceded the Canterbury Tales. Estimate of Gower s genius. 

If Chaucer had not existed, the compositions of John Gowfer, the next 
poet in succession, would alone have been sufficient to rescue the reigns 
of Edward the Third and Richard the Second from the imputation of 
barbarism. His education was liberal and uncircumscribed, his course 
of reading extensive, and he tempered his severer studies with a know- 
ledge of life. By a critical cultivation of his native language, he la- 
boured to reform its irregularities, and to establish an English style •. 
In these respects he resembled his friend and cotemporary Chaucer^ ; 
but he participated no considerable portion of Chaucer's spirit, imagi- 
nation, and elegance. His language is tolerably perspicuous, and his 
versification often harmonious ; but his poetry is of a grave and senten- 
tious turn. He has much good «ense, solid reflection, and useful ob- 
servation ; but he is serious and didactic on all occasions : he preserves 
the tone of the scholar and the moralist on the most lively topics. For 
this reason he seems to have been characterised by Chaucer with the 
appellation of the morall Gower^. But his talent is not confined to 

* See supra, p. 128 of this volume. society: but it is too long for introduction 

^ It is certain that they both lived and here, and Mr. Todd's very ingenious and 

wrote together. But I have considered curious volume is likely to be in many 

Chaucer first, among other reasons here- hands. — Park.] 

after given, as Gower survived him. ° Troil. and Cress, ad calc. pag. 333. 

Chaucer died October 25, 1400, aged 72 . edit. Urr. ut supr. 

years. Gower died, 1402. [Bulleyn in his 'Dialogue both plea- 

[Mr. Todd has since made it appear, from saunt and pitefuU,* 1573, introduces a vi- 

the will of Gower, that he was living in the sionary description of old " morall Goore," 

early part of 1408, and died in that year ; with pen in hand, commending honest 

the probate of administration granted to love without lust, and pleasure without 

his wife Agnes, being signed Oct. 24. pride, &c. Hawes, in his Pastime of 

His various bequests prove that he died Pleasure, also praises " moral Gower." 

rich. See Illustrations of the Lives and And the dedication to Henry VIII. bc- 

Writings of Gower and Chaucer, p. xvii. fore Bertholefs edition of the Confes- 

The above testamentary document was sio Amantis, superadds to his established 

first printed in the Sepulchral Monuments moral epithet, the terms "worthy olde 

of Great Britain, by Richard Gough, esq. writer," and " noble autour." This latter 

It is considered by Mr. Todd as contribu- title may have been conferred by legal 

tive of new facts in the history of the poet, courtesy, because he was trained to 

and illustrating also, in some degree, the the Bar ; since Waterhous has told us, in 

manners of the time as well as his rank in his Commentary on Sir John Fortescue's 

VOL. H. Q 


Englbh verse only. He wrote also in Latin ; and copied Ovid's Ele- 
giacs with some degree of purity, and with fewer false quantities and 
corrupt phrases, than any of our countrymen had yet exhibited since^ 
the twelfth century. 

Gower's capital work, consisting of three parts, only the last of which 
properly furnishes matter for our present inquiry, is entitled Speculum 
Meditantis, Vox Clamaktis, Confessio Amantis. It was finished, 
at least the third part, in the year 1 39S*. The Speculum Meditantis, 
or the Mlrrour qfMeditatianj is written in French rhymes, in ten books ^ 
This tract, which was never printed, displays the general nature of vir- 
tue and vice, enumerates the felicities of conjugal fidelity by examples 
selected ft'om various authors, and describes the path which the repro- 
bate ought to pursue for the recovery of the divine grace. The Vox 
Clamantis *, or the Voice of one crying in the Wilderness^ which was 
also never printed, contains seven books of Latin elegiacs. This work 
is chiefly historical, and is little more than a metrical chronicle of the 
insurrection of the Commons in the reign of king Richard the Second. 
The best and most beautiful manuscript of it is in the library of All 
Souls college at Oxford ; with a dedication in Latin verse, addressed by 
the author, when he was old and blind, to archbishop Arundel'. The 
Confessio Amantis, or the Lover's Confession^ is an English poem, 
in eight books, first printed by Caxton, in the year 1483. It was writ- 
ten at the command of Richard the Second ; who, meeting our poet 
Gower rowing on the Thames near London, invited him into the royal 
barge, and after much conversation requested him to book some new 

treatise <l>e Laudibiu Legum Anglla/ * [Oower's Vox Clamantii, says Ritson, 

that in his time ** none were admitted^ of might have deserved publication, in a his- 

the Inns of Court, but men as of bloud so toricai view, if he had not proved an in- 

of fortune." Fottescutus lilustratus, 1663. grate to his lawful sovereign, and a syco- 

— Park.] phant to the usurper of his throne. See 

' Confess. Amant Prol. fol. 1 a. col. 1. Bibliogr. Poetica, p. 25. Ritson also cen- 
Imprinted»>at London, in Flete-strete, by sures him with great austerity for a sup- 
Thomas Berthelette, the xii. daie of March, posed rupture between himself and Chau- 
ann. 1554. folio. This edition is hereal- cer, the praise of whom was subtracted 
ways dted. from the 2nd edition of Confessio Anian- 

* Bi^l. Bodl. MSS. Bodl. NE. F. 8. 9. tis; but as none of the printed copies ap- 

And MSS. Fairf. 3. [Gower's Speculum peared till long after the decease of Gower, 

Meditantis has never, I beli^eve, been seen how does he become censurable for the 

by any of our poetical antiouaries ; nor imputed omission ? — Park.] 
does it exist in the Bodleian Library. ' MSS. Num. 20. It occurs more than 

Campbell, the author of Dower's article in once In the Bodleian Library ; and, I be- 

the Biogimphia Brit, and Warton, who ^eve, often in private hands. There is a 

profett to give an account of its contents, fine manuscript of it in the British Mu* 

were deceived by the ambiguity of a re- seum. It was written in the year 1397, 

ference in Tanner ; and, instead of the at appears by the following line, MSS. 

work in question, describe a much shorter BodL 294. 

poem j^r bahde, by the same author.- j,^ ^^ ^,^ ^^^^ j^.^^j ^^^ .^ ^^^^ 

[At the end of these MSS. is subjoined * To the Rbder, in Berthelette's edi- 

a notice in Latin, of Gower's three prin- tion. From the Prologue. See supra, 

' eipal works : and so much as relates to the p. 125 et seq. Note '. 
tpeeulum is given by Mr. Ellis. — Park.] 


This tripartite work is represented bj tbree ▼olames on Gower's cu- 
rious tomb in the conyentual church of Saint Mary Overey in South- 
warky HOW remaining in its antient state ; and this circumstance fur- 
nishes me with an obyiouB opportunity oi adding an anecdote relating 
to our poet's munificence and piety, which ought not to be omitted. 
Although a poet» he largely contributed to rebuild that church in its 
present elegant form, and to render it a beautiful pattern of the lighter 
Gothic architecture : at the same time he founded, at his tomb, a per* 
petual chantry. 

It is on the last of these pieces, the Contbssio Amantis, that 
Gower^s character and reputation as a poet are almost entirely founded. 
This poem, whidi bears no immediate reference to the other two divi- 
sions, is a dialogue between a lover and his confessor, who is a priest of 
Venus, and, like the mystagogue in the Picture of Cebes, is called 
Genius. Here, as if it had been impossible for a lover not to be a good 
Catholic, the ritual of rel^on is apf^ed to the tender passion, andOrid's^ 
Art of Love is blended with the breviaary. In the course of the con- 
fession, eyery evil affection of the human heart, which may tend to im- 
pede the progress or counteract the success of love, is scientifically suIk 
divided ; and its fatal effects exemplified by a variety of apposite stories, 
extracted from classics and chronicles. The poet often introduces of 
recapitulates his matter in a few couplets of Latin long and short verses* 
This was in imitation of Boethius. 

This poem is strongly tinctured with those pedantic affectations con- 
cerning the passion of love, which the French and Italian poets of 
the fourteenth century borrowed from the troubadours of Provence, 
and which I have above examined at large. But the writer's particular 
model appears more immediately to have been John of Menu's celebra- 
ted Roman de la Rose. He has, however, seldom attempted to imi- 
tate the picturesque imageries, and expressive personifications, of that 
exquisite allegory. His most striking portraits, which yet are con- 
ceived with no powers of creation, nor delineated with any fertility of 
fancy, are Idleness, Avarice, Michsrib or Thieving, aad Negli- 
gence, the secretary of Sloth '*. Instead of boldly clothing these 
qualities with corporeal attributes, aptly and poetically imagined, he 
coldly yet sensibly describes their operations, and enumerates their pro* 
perties. What Gower wanted in invention, he supplied from his com- 
mon-place book ; which appears to have been stored with an inexhaust- 
ible fund of instructive maxims, pleasant narrations, and philosophical 
definitions. It seems to have been his object to crowd all his erudition 
into this elaborate performance. Yet there is often some degree of con- 
trivance and art in his manner of introducing and adapting subjects of 

^ Lib. iv. f. 62 a. coL 1. Lib. ▼. f. 04 a. «>1. 1. Lib. iv. f. 66 t. col. 1. Lib. v. 
t 119 a. col. 2. 




[sect. XIZ. 

a very distant nature, and which are totally foreign to his general de- 

In the fourth book our confessor turns chemist ; and discoursing 
at large on the Hermetic science, developes its principles, and exposes 
its abuses, with great penetration K He delivers the doctrines concern- 
ing the vegetable, mineral, and animal stones, to which Falstaff alludes 
in Shakespeare^, with amazing accuracy and perspicuity^ ; although 
this doctrine was adopted from systems then in vogue, as we shall see 
below. In another place he applies the Argonautic expedition in search 
of the golden fleece, which he relates at length, to the same visionary 
philosophy"*. Gower very probably conducted his associate Chaucer 
into these profound mysteries, which had been just opened to our coun- 
trymen by the books of Roger Bacon °. 

In the seventh book, the whole circle of the Aristotelic philosophy is 
explained; which our lover is desirous to learn, supposing that the 
importance and variety of its speculations might conduce to sooth his 
anxieties by diverting and engaging his attention. Such a discussion ' 

> Lib. W. f. 76 b. col. 2. 

k Falstaff mentioiu a philosopher's or 
chemist's ttpo ttones. See Hen. IV. Part ii. 
Act ill. sc. 2. Our author abundantly 
confirms Dr. Warburton's explication of 
this passage, which the rest of the com- 
mentators do not seem to have under- 
stood. See Ashm. Theatr. Chemic. p. 
484. edit Lond. 1652. 4to. 

[The nations bordering upon the Jews, 
attributed the miraculous events of that 
people to those eitemal means and ma- 
terial instruments, such as symbols, cere- 
monies, and other visible signs or circum- 
stances, which by God's special appoint- 
ment, under their mysterious dispensation, 
they were directed to use. Among the 
observations which the Oriental Gentiles 
made on the history of the Jews, they 
found that the Divine will was to be 
known by certain appearances in precious 
stones. The Magi of the East, believing 
that the preternatural discoveries obtained 
by means of the Urim and Thummlm, a 
contexture of gems in the breast-plate of 
the Mosaic priests, were owing to some 
virtue inherent in those stones, adopted 
the knowledge of the occult properties of 
gems as a branch of their magical system. 
Hence it became the peculiar profession 
of one class of their sages, to investigate 
and interpret the various sha4es and co- 

ruscations, and to explain, to amoral pur- 
pose, the different colours, the dews, 
clouds, and imageries, which gems, differ- 
ently exposed to the sun, moon, stars, 
fire, or air, at particular seasons, and in- 
spected by persons particularly qualified, 
were seen to exhibit. This notion being 
once established, a thousand extravagan- 
cies arose, of healing diseases, of procu- 
ring victory, and of seeing future events, 
by means of precious stones, and other 
lucid substances. See Plin. Nat. Hist. 
XXX vii. 9. 10. These superstitions were 
soon ingrafted into the Arabian philoso- 
phy, from which they were propagated all 
over Europe, and continued to operate 
even so late as the visionary experiments 
of Dee and Kelly '. It is not in the mean 
time at all improbable, that the Druidical 
doctrines concerning the virtues of stones 
were derived from these lessons of the 
Magi : and they are still to be traced 
among the traditions of the vulgar, in 
those parts of Britain and Ireland, where 
Druidism retained its latest establish- 
ments. See Martin's West Isles, p. 167. 
225. And Aubrey's Miscell. p. 128. 
Lond. 8vo. — Additions.] 

» Lib. iv. f. 77 a. col. 1. 

"» Lib. V. f. 101 a. seq. 

*" See supra, p. 191, Note K 

1 When king Richard the First, in 1191, took the Isle of Cyprus, he is said to have 
found the castles filled with rich furniture of gold and silver, "necnon lapidibus pre- 
tiosis, et plurimam virtutetn habcntibus." G. Vines. Iter Hierosol. cap. xli. p. 328. 
Hist Anglic. Script vol. ii. Oxon. 1687. 


not very likely to afford him much consolation ; especially, as hardly a 
single ornamental digression is admitted, to decorate a field naturally so 
destitute of flowers. Almost the only one is the following description 
of the chariot and crown of the sun ; in which the Arabian ideas con- 
cerning precious stones are interwoven with Ovid's fictions and the 
classical mythology. 

Of golde glistrendeS spoke and whele. 

The Sonne his carte? hath, faire and wele ; 

In which he sit, and is croned 

With bright stones environed ; 

Of which, if that I speke shall 

There be tofore^, in speciall'. 

Set in the front of his corone, 

Thre stones, which no pefsone 

Hath upon erth : and the first b 

By name cleped Leucachatis ; 

That other two cleped thus 

Astroites and Ceraunus, 

In his corone ; and also byhynde, 

By olde bokes, as I fynd, — 

lliere ben of worthy stones three, 

Set eche of hem in his degree ; 

Whereof a Cristelle is that one, 

Which that corone is sett upon : 

The second is an Adamant ; 

The third is noble and avenant', 

Which cleped is Idriades — 

And over this yet nathelessS 

Upon the sidis of the werke^ 

After the writynge of the clerke**, 

There sitten five stones mo^ ; 

The Smaragdine b one of tho^ 

Jaspis, and Helitropius, 

And Vandides, and Jacinctus. 

Lo I thus the corone is beset, 

Whereof it shineth wel the bet 7. 

And in such wise, his light to spreade, 

Sit, with his diademe on heade, 

The Sonne, shinende in his carte : 

And for to lead him swithe* and smarte, 

After the bright dai^s lawe. 

There ben ordained for to drawe 

' glittering. ' chariot " the philosopher* ^ more. 

' before. ' above all. * them. ^ much better. 

' beautiful. ^ still further. * gwiit 


Four hors his chare, aiid him withall, 
. Whereoff the names tell I shall : 
EritheuB the first is hote% 
The whiche is redde, and shineth hote ; 
The second Acteos the bright, 
Lampes the third courser hight, 
And Philogeus is the ferth^ 
That bringen light unto this erth 
And gone so swift upon the heven, &c.^ 

Our author closes this course of the AristoteUc philosophy with a 
system of polities'^ ; not taken from Aristotle's genuine treatise on that 
subject, but from the first chapter of a spurious compilation entitled, 
Secretum Sscretorum Aristot£Lis% addressed und^ the name of 
Aristotle to his pupil Alexander the Great, and printed at Bononia in 
the year 1516. A work, treated as genuine, and explained with a 
learned gloss, by Roger Bacon ^; and of the highest reputation in 
Gower's age, as it was transcribed, and illustrated with a conmientary, 
for the use of king Edward the Thirds by his chaplain Walter de M lUe- 
mete, prebendary of the collegiate church of Glaseney in Cornwall s. 
Under this head, our author takes an opportunity of giving advice to a 
weak yet amiable prince, his patron king Richard the Second, on a 
subject of the most difficult and delicate nature, with much freedom 
and dignity. It might also be proved, that Gower, through this detail 
of the sciences, copied in many other articles the Secretum Secreto- 
rum; which is a sort of an abridgement of the Aristotelic philosophy, 
filled with many Arabian innovations and absurdities, and enriched with 
an appendix concerning the choice of wines, phlebotomy, justice, pub- 
lic notaries, tournaments, and physiognomy, rather than from the Latin 
translations of Aristotle. It is evident that he copied from this work 
the doctrine of the three chemical stones, mentioned above \ That 
part of our author's astronomy, in which he speaks of the magician 
Nectabanus instructing Alexander the Great, when a youth, in the 
knowledge of the. fifteen stars, and their respective plants and precious 
stones, appropriated to the operations of natural magic ^ seems to be 
borrowed from Callisthenes, the fabulous writer of the life of Alexan- 

* named. ^ fourth. arHs auri/eng, Basil. 1593. torn. i. And 
« Lib. Til. f. 145 b. col. 1. 2. edit 1610. See below, Note K 

* Lib. vii. f. 151 a. I have mendoned a Latin romance of 

* See supr. vol. i. p. 135. Note '. Alexander's life, as printed by Frederick 
' See Wood, Hist Antiq. Univ. Oxon. Corsellis, about 1468. sup. vol. i. p. 134. 

lib. i. p. 15. col. 1. On examination, that impression is said to 

■ Tanner, Bibl. p. 527. It is cited by be finished December 17, 1468. Un- 

Bradwardine, a fkmous English theologist, luckily, the seventeenth day of December 

in his grand work De Causa Dei. He died was a Sunday that year. A manifest proof 

1349. that the name of Corsellis was forged*. 

^ There is an Epistle under the name TThe 17th December, 1468, was a Satur- 
of Alexander the Great, De Lapide Phi- day. — Ritson.] 
/ofojoAortim, among the Scriptores Cbfmici > Lib. 148 a. seq, 


devK Yet many wonderful inventions, which occur in this romance of 
Alexander, are also to be found in the Sbcretum Secretorum : par* 
ticulariy the fiction of Alexander's Stentorian horn, mentioned above, 
which was heard at the distance of sixty miles ^, and of which Kircher 
has given a curious representation in his Phonijrgia, copied horn an 
antient picture of this gigantic instrument, belonging to a manuscript 
of the Secretum Secretorum, preserved in the Vatican library"*. 

It is pretended by the mystic writers, that Aristotle in his old age 
reviewed his books, and digested his philosophy into one system or body, 
which he sent, in the form of an epistle, to Alexander. Thb is the sup- 
posititious tract of which I have been speaking ; and it is thus described 
by Lydgate, who has translated a part of it. 

Title of this boke Lapis Philosophorum 
Namyd also De Rbgimine Principum, 
Of philosophres Secretum Secretorum. — 
The which booke direct to the kyng 
Alysaundre, both in the werre and pees°, 
Lyke^ his request and royall commandingi 
FuUe accomplishid by ArisMiles. 
Feeble of age. -----. 

Then follows a rubric *^How Aristotile declareth to kynge Aly* 
sandre of the stonysP.** It was early translated into French prose^ and 
printed in English, " The Secret of Aristotyle, with die Gover- 
NALE of Princes and every maner of estate, with rules for helth of 
body and soul, very gode to teche children to rede English, newly trans- 
lated out of French, and emprented by Robert and William Copland, 
1 528 V This work will occur again under Ocdeve and Lidgate. There 
u also another forgery consecrated with the name of Aristotle, and often 
quoted by the astrologers, which Gower might have used: it is de Re- 
oiMiNiBUS CoELESTiBUS, which had been early translated from Arabic 
into Latin'. 

^ Or from fictitious books attributed to mole, Theatr. Chemic. ut supr. p. 397. 

Alexander the Great, De wptem HsrbU See Julias Bartolocc torn. 1. Bibl. Rabbi- 

st^tem Planetarum, ftc See Fabric Bibl. nic p. 475. and Joann. a Lent, TheoK 

Or. torn. ii. p. 206. See supra, vol. i. p. Judaic, p. 6. 

132. and vol. ii. p. 8. Note'. Calllsthe- * M6m. de Litt. torn. xvii. p. 737. 4to. 

nea is mentioned twice in this poem, Lib. ' Octavo. A work called Aristotle's Po- 

▼ii. t 139 b. col. 2; and vi. f. 139 b. col. litiques, or Discourses of Government^ 

2. See a chapter of Caliisthenes and from the French of Louis le Roy, printed 

Alexander, In Lydgate's Fall of Princes, by Adam Islip, in folio. In the year 1527, 

B. iv. ch. 1. seq. fol. 99. edit ut infr. and dedicated to Sir Robert Sidney, is Ari- 

' See supra, vol. L p. 135. stotle's genuine work. In Gresham col- 

"* Pag. 1 40. See Secretum Secretorum, lege library there is " Alexandri M. Epi* 

Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Bodl. D. i. 5. cap. penult stolsB ad preceptorem Aristotelem, AngHce 

lib. 5. facta" MSS. 52. But I believe it Oc- 

* peace. cleve's or Lydgate's poem on the subject, 

** according to. hereafter mentioned. 

P MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Laud. B. 24. K. 53. ' Hotdng. Bibl. Orient p. 255. See Pic. 

Part of this manuscript is printed by Ash- Mirandulan. contra Astrolog. lib. i. p. 284. 


Considered in a general view, the Comfessio Amantis may be pro- 
nounced to be no unpleasing miscellany of those shorter tales which 
delighted the readers of the middle age. Most of these are now for- 
gotten, together with the voluminous chronicles in which they were 
recorded. The book which appears to have accommodated our author 
with the largest quantity of materials in this article, was probably a 
chronicle entitled Pantheon, or Memori^ Seculorum, compiled in 
Latin, partly in prose and partly in verse, by Godfrey of Viterbo, a chap- 
lain and notary to three German emperors, who died in the year 1190^ 
It commences, according to the established practice of the historians of 
this age, with the creation of the world, and is brought down to the year 
1186. It was first printed at Basil in the year 1569^ The learned 
Muratori has not scrupled to insert the five last sections of this univer- 
sal history in the seventh tome of his writers on Italy ^. The subject of 
this work, to use the laborious compiler's own expressions, is the Old 
and New Testament ; and all the emperors and kings, which have ex- 
isted from the beginning of the world to his own times : of whom the 
origin, end, names, and achievements are commemorated*. The authors 
which our chronicler professes to have consulted for the gentile story, 
are only Josephus, Dion Cassius, Strabo, Orosius, Hegesippus^, Sueto- 
nius, Solinus, and Julius Africanus : among which, not one of the purer 
Roman historians occurs. Gower also seems to have used another chro- 
nicle written by the same Godfrey, never printed, called Speculum 
Regum, or the Mirrour of Kings, which is almost as multifarious as 
the last ; containing a genealogy of all the potentates, Trojan and Ger- 
man, from Noah's flood to the reign of the emperor Henry the Sixths 
according to the chronicles of the venerable Bede, Eusebius, and Am- 
brosius*. There are, besides, two ancient collectors of marvellous and 
delectable occurrences to which our author is indebted, Cassiodonis 
and Isidorus. These are mentioned as two of the chroniclers which 
Caxton used in compiling his Cronicles of England*. Cassiodonis^ 
wrote, at the command of the Gothic king Theodoric, a work named 
Chronicon Breve, commencing with our first parents, and deduced 

* See supra, p. 1 33. et acq. Note ■. And continuation, which has considerable merit 

Jacob. Quetif. i. p. 740. as a history, is extant in Freherus, Rer. 

" In folio. Again, among Scriptor. de Germanicar. torn. i. edit Stnivian. p. 335. 
Reb. Germanicis, by Pistorlus, Francof. •" p. 346. 
fol. 1584. And Hanov. 1613. Lastly in ' in proem, 
a new edit of Pistorius's collection by ^ See supra, p. 4. 
Struvius, Ratisbon, 1726. fol. There is a * See Lambecc. il. p. 274. 
chronicle, I believe, sometimes confounded 'Bale, apud Lewis's Caxton, p. xvii. 
with Godfrey's Pantheon, called the Pan- post pref. And in the prologue to the 
TALEONE, from the creation to the year Fructus Temporum, printed at St Al- 
ii 62, about which time it was compiled ban's in 1483, one of the authors is " Cas- 
by the Benedictine monks of St Panta- siodorus of the actys of emperours and 
leon at Cologne, printed by Eccard, with bisshoppys." 

a German translation, in the first volume *» See Confes. Amant lib. vii. f. 156 b, 

of ScRiPTOREs Mkdii i£vi, p. 683. 945. col. 1. And our author to king Henry, 

U was continued to the year 1237, by Urry's Ch. p. 642. v. 330. 
Godfridus, a Pantaleonist monk. ThU 


to the year 519, chiefly deduced from Eusebius's ecclesiastic history, 
the chronicles of Prosper and Jerom, and Aurelius Victor's Origin of 
the Roman nation^ An Italian translation by Lodovico Dolce was 
printed in 1561*^. Isidorus, called Hispalensis, cited by Davie and 
Chaucer % in the seventh century framed from the same author, a Cro- 
NicoN, from Adam to the time of the emperor Heraclius, first printed 
in the year 1477» and translated into Italian under the title of Cronica 
d'Isidoro, so soon after as the year 14*80 ^ 

These comprehensive systems of all sacred and profane events, which 
in the middle ages multiplied to an excessive degree, superseded the 
use of the classics and other established authors, whose materials they 
gave in a commodious abridgement ; and in whose place, by selecting 
those stories only which suited the taste of the times, they substituted 
a more agreeable kind of reading : nor was it by these means only, that 
they greatly contributed to retard the acquisition of those ornaments of 
style, and other arts of composition, which an attention to the genuine 
models would have afforded, but by being written without any ideas of 
elegance, and in the most barbarous phraseology. Yet productive as 
they were of these and other inconvenient consequences, they were not 
without their use in the rude periods of literature. By gradually wean- 
ing the minds of readers from monkish legends, they introduced a relish 
for real and rational history ; and kindling an ardour of inquiring into 
the transactions of past ages, at length awakened a curiosity to obtain 
a more accurate and authentic knowledge of important events by search* 
ing the original authors. Nor are they to be entirely neglected in mo- 
dem and more polished ages. For, besides that they contain curious 
pictures of the credulity and ignorance of our ancestors, they frequently 
preserve facts transcribed from books which have not descended to 
posterity. It is extremely probable, that the plan on which they are all 
constructed, that of deducing a perpetual history from the creation to 
the writer's age, was partly taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and partly 
from the Bible. 

In the mean time there are three histories of a less general nature, 
which Gower seems more immediately to have followed in some of his 
tales. These are Colonna's'Romance of Troy, the Romance of Sir Lan- 
celot, and the Gesta Romanorum. 

From Colonna's Romance, which he calls The Tale of Troie^ The 

^ Ithaa often been printed. See Opera Pacensis from 610 to 754. This continu- 

Caasiodoriyduobustomis, Rothomag. 1679. ation was printed in 1634, fol. Pampelon. 

fol. under the title " Epitome Imperatorum 

'CompendiodtSestoRuffo, conlaCRO- vel Arabum Ephemeridos una cum Hi- 

NiCA Di Cassiodoro, de Fatti de Ro- spanlae Chronico." 
mani, &C. In Venezia, per il Qiolto, 1561. Isidore has likewise left a history or 

4to. chronicle of the Goths, copied also by our 

* See supra, p. 14, Note ^, author, from the year 176, to the death of 

' Stampata nel Friuli It is sometimes king Sisebut in the year 628. It was early 

called Chronica de sex Mundi ^tati- printed. See it in Grotius's CoUectio Re- 

BUB, Imaoo Mundi, and Abbreviatio rum Gothicarum, pag. 707. Amst 1656. 

Temporum. It was continued by Isidorus 8to. 


Bohecf Trtne'y and sometimes 7%« Cranike^ he has takai all that re- 
lates to the Trqjan and Grecian story, or, in Milton's language, th£ 
Tale of Troy divine. Thb piece was first printed at Cologne in the 
year 14<77^ At Cologne an Italian translation appeared in the same 
year, and one at Venice in 1481. It was translated into Italian so early 
as 1 324, by Philipp Ceffi, a Florentine ^ By some writers it b called the 
British as well as the Trojan story ^; and there are manuscripts in which 
it is entitled the history of Medea and Jason™. In most of the Italian 
translations it is called la storia dblla gusrra di Troja. This 
history is repeatedly calkd the Troie boks by Lydgate, who translated 
it into Englbh Tene\ 

As to the romance of Sir Lancelot, our author, among others on the 
sul^ect, refers to a volume of which he was the hero : perhaps that of 
Robert Borron, altered soon afterwards by Godefroy de Leigny, under 
the title of le Roman de la Cmarbtts, and printed with additions at 
Pkurb by Antony Varard, in the year 1494. 

For if thou wilt the bokes rede 
Of Launcelot and other mo, 
Then might thou seen how it was tho 
Of armes, for this wolde atteine 
To love, which, withouten peine 

* Of Palamedes and Nauplius, <* The 
hoke rf Troie whoto reder Lib. ii. fol. 52 
b. col. 2. The story of Juon and Medea, 
" whereof the tale in speciall is in the hoke 
rf Troie writte." Lib. ▼. fol. 101 a. col. 2. 
Of the Syrens seen by Ulysses, " which in 
the iak of Troie I finde.'^ Lib. L t 10 b. 
col. 1. Of the eloquence of Ulysses, ** As 
in the bake qf Troie is ftinde." Lib. vii. t 

150 a. col. 1. Sec. &C. See supra, voL L 
p. 129 et seq. Note **. 

^ In the story of the Theban chief Ca- 
paneus, " This knight as the Cronike 
seine." Lib. i. f. 18 b. coL 2. Of AchU- 
les and Teucer, " In a Cron ique I fynde 
thus.*' Lib. iii. foL 62 a. coL U Of Peleus 
and Phocus, ** As the Croniqub seithe.*' 
Lib. iii. f. 61 b. col. 1. Of Ulysses and Pe- 
nelope, " In a Cron IQUE I finde writte.'* 
Lib. iv. f. 63 b. col. 2. He mentions also 
the Croniqub for tales of other nations. 
" In the Croniqub as I finde, Cham was 
he which first the letters fonde, and wrote 
in Hebrew with his honde, of natitrall 
philosophie.'* Lib. It. foL 76 a. coL 1. 
For Darius's four questions, Lib. vii. foL 

151 b. coL 1. For Perillus's brasen bull, 
£ ftc ftc. See below. 

* In quarto. Historia TROJANA,a (j^m- 
done de Columpna Meuanenti Judice edita 
1287. ImpretsaperAmoldumTkerhumem 
Colanim eommoraniem, 1477. Die penult. 
Nov, I am mistaken in what I have said, 

supra, vol. i. p. 130. There is another 
edition at Oxford by Rood, 1480, 4to. 
two at Strasburg, 1486, and 1489, foL 
Ames calls him Columella. Hist Print, 
p. 204. 

k See Haym's BibL Italian, p. 35. edit. 
Venes. 1741. 4to. I am not sure whether 
Haym*8 Italian translation in the year 
1477 is not the Latin of that year. They 
are both in quarto, and by Amoldo Ter- 
bone. A Florence edition of the transla- 
tion in 1610, quarto, is said to be most 

1 Sandius and Hallerwood, in their Sup- 
plement to Vossius's Latin Historians, sup- 
pose Colonna's Trojan and British chro* 
nicle the same. In Theodoric Engelhu- 
sen'fl Chronica Chronicontm, compiled 
about the year 1420, where the author 
speaks of Troy, he cites Colonna de Beilo 
Trofano. In the Preface he mentions Co* 
lonna's Chronica Britannorum. See Bn- 
gelhusen's first edition, Helmst 1671. 4to. 
Or rather, Scriptor. Brunsvic Leibnitii« 
p. 977. See also Fabyan and other his* 

"* See supra, vol.i. p. 140. It will occur 
again under Lydgate. 

" Tragedies of Bochas, B. L ch. zvi. 
How the tramelatoure wrote a booke rf the 
eiege rfTroy, called Troye bokb. And 
ib. Sl 7. 17. 20. edit. Wayland. foL zzx. 
b. uRi« a. And in Lydg. Destr. of Troy. 


Mate not be gette of idleness: 

And that I take to witnese 

An oid Craniie in spedall 

The whieh in to memoriall 

Is write far his loves sake. 

How that a knight shall undertake **. 

He alludes to a story about Sir Tristram, which he supposes to be 
universally known, related in this romance. 

In everie mans mouth it is 
How Tristram was of love dronke 
With Bele Isolde, whan this dronke 
The drinke which Bragweine faim betoke, 
£r that kyng Marke, &c.p 

And again, in the assembly of lovers. 

Ther was Tristram which was beloved 
With Bele Isolde, and Lancelot 
Stood with GonnorS and Galahot 
With his lady'. - - - - 

The oldest edition of the Gesta Romanorum, a manuscript of which 
I have seen in almost Saxon characters*, I believe to be this. Incipi- 
unt Hystorie notabiles, coUecte ex Gestis Romanorum, et quibtU" 
dam aliis lihris cum appUcationibns eorundem\ It is without date or 
place, but supposed by the critics in typographical antiquities to have 
been printed before or about the year 1473. Then followed a second 
edition at Louvain by John de Westfalia, with this title : Ex Gestis 
Romanorum Historib notabiles de viciis virtutibusque tractantes 
cum cgppUcaiumibus moralisaUs et mysHcis. At the ent^this colophon 
appears; Gesta Romanorum cum guibusdam edits htstoriis eisdem 
atmexis ad morcdUaUs dilucide reducta hicjmem habent. Qua diligent 
tcTy corredis aliorwn viciiSy impressit Joannes de WestfaiiOj alma in 
Univers, LouvaniensiK This edition has twenty-nine chapters more 

^ Lib. iv. f. 74 a. ool. 2. initials, pages, signatures, or catchwords. 

' Lib. Ti. f. 130 b. col. 2. Anolib is mentioaed in chapters 155. 

^ Geneura, Arthur's queen. 161. 

' Lib. viii. f. 188 a. coL 1. * Princip, " De Di lections, cap. i. 

* [It is to be regretted Warton did not Pompeius regnavit dives Yalde, &c — Mo- 
make a reference to this MS. of the Gesta ralizatio. De MisERicoRDiA, cap. ii. 
written in wbal he supposed to be Saxon De A9ULTBRio,in cap.clxxxi." It is in 
characters. As the work itself was not quarto, with signatures to K k. The ini- 
composed till after the middle of the 13th tials are written in red ink. Mr. Fanner 
century, it is very clear that Warton is of Cambridge has this edition. [Now in 
here speaking at random. — ^M.] the King's library, British Museum.— M.] 

* Prineip, ** Pompeius regnarit dives, [Riuon (MS. note) acutely remarks^ 
&c Fin,** ** Quidam vero princeps no- " It is by no means certain that Oower 
mine Cleonicus, ftc. Karissimi, iste prin- had consulted the Gesta Romanorum; 
eeps est xps, &c. Oscula blandientis, 8cc." where the story of Julius is related, in • 
It is in folio, in double columns, without very different manner, of an i 


than there are in the former ; and the first of these additional chapters 
is the story of Antiochus, related in our author, it is probably of the 
year 1473. Another followed soon afterwards, Ex Gestis Romano- 
rum HiSTORiE NOTABiLES moroUztUa per Girardum ZAeu. GoudcR^ 
1480**. The next^ is at Louvain, Gesta Romanorum, cum appUca- 
iionihus moralisaiis ac mysHcis. At the end, — Ex Gestis Romano- 
rum cumplurUms applicatis hystoriis de virtuiibus et vitiis mutice 
ad inteUectum transumptis recoUectoriiJinis, Anno nostra saluds 1494;. 
In die sancH Adriani martyrise 

It was one of my reasons for giving these titles and colophons so much 
at large, that the reader might more fully comprehend the nature and 
design of a performance which operated so powerfully on the present 
state of our poetry. Servius says that the Eneb was sometimes called 
Gesta populi Romania. Ammianus Marcellinus, who wrote about 
the year 450, mentions a work called the Gestorum volumen, which, 
according to custom, was solenmly recited to the emperor'. Here per- 
haps we may perceive the ground-work of the title. 

In this mixture of moralisation and narrative, the Gesta Rom anorum 
somewhat resembles the plan of Gower's poem. In the rubric of the 
stoiy of Julius and the poor knight, our author alludes to this book in 
tiie expression, Hie secundum Gesta, &c.* When he speaks of the 
emperors of Rome paying reverence to a virgin, he says he found this 
custom mentioned, " Of Rome among the Gestes olde^.** Yet he 
adds, that the Gestes took it from Valerius Maximus. The story of 
Tarquin and his son Arrous is ushered in with this line, *^ So as these 
olde Gestes seyne^." . The tale of Antiochus, as I have hinted, is in 
the Gesta Romamorum ; although for some parts of it Gower was 
perhaps indebted to Godfrey's Pantheon above mentioned*. The 
foundation of Shakespeare's story of the three caskets in the Merchant 
OF Venice, is to be found in this favourite collection : this is likevnse 
in our author, yet in a difierent form, who cites a Cronike^ for his au- 

imperator:** tecundum getta seems to mean Lwyut de Oestis Romakohum is recited, 

merely "according to the ^chronicles." — ■ Lib. viii. £ 153 a. col. 1. And in 

Park.] other rubrics. In the rubric there is 

" In quarto. also Gesta Alexandri, lib. iii. f. 61 a. 

^ But I think there is another Ooudse, coL 1. And in the story of Sardanapalus, 

1489 fol. [Mr. Douce enumerates eight <* These olde Gestes tellen us," lib. iii. 

editions between those of Gouds and Lou- 167 a. col. 1. 

vain, among which is one printed by Ge- ^ Lib. v. £ 118 a. col. 2. 

rard Leeu in 1490. This latter is pro- ^ Lib; vii. t 169 a. col. 1. 

bably the edition alluded to by Warton. ^ See supra, p. 133. et seq. Note '. 

See Douce*s Illustration of Shakspeare, * He refers to a Cronike for other sto- 

▼ol. ii. p. 358. — Price.] ries, as the story of Lucius king of Rome, 

' In quarto. Again, Paris, 1499, 4to. and the king's fool. " In a Cronike it 

Hagen, 1508, fol. Paris, 1521, octavo, telleth us." Lib. vii. f. 165 a. col. 2. Of 

And undoubtedly others. It appeared in the translation of the Roman empire to the 

Dutch so early as the year 1484, fol. Lombards. ** This made an emperour 

y And £neid» vi. 752. anon, whose name, the Chronicle tell- 

■ " Imperatori de more redtatum." Hist eth, was Othes." Prol. fol. 5 b. col. 2. Of 

xxix. 1. In the title of the Saint Al- Constantine's leprosy. <' For iu Cronike 

BANS CBRONICLE, printed 1483. THtu thus I rede.*' Lib. iiL f. 46 b. col. 8. 


thority. I make no apology for giving the passage somewhat at large, 
as the source of this elegant little apologue, which seems to be of East- 
em invention, has lately so much employed the searches of the com- 
mentators on Shakespeare, and that the circumstances of the story, as 
it is told by Gower, may be compared with those with which it appears 
in other booics. 

The poet is speaking of a king whose officers and courtiers complained 
that, after a long attendance, they had not received adequate rewards, 
and preferments due to their services. The king, who was no stranger 
to their complaints, artfully contrives a scheme to prove whether this 
defect proceeded from his own want of generosity, or their want of dis- 

Anone he lette two cofres' make, 
Of one semblance, of one make, 
So lyche^, that no life thilke throwe 
That one male fro that other knowe. 
Thei were into his chambre brought. 
But no man wote why they be brought. 
And netheles the kynge hath bede, 
That thei be sette in privie stede. 
As he that was of wisdome sligh. 
Whan he therto his tyme sigh^. 
All privilycheS that none it wiste. 
His own hondes that one chist^ 
Oifine golds and oijine perie\ 
(The which oute of his tresurie 
Was take) anone he filde full ; 
That other cofre of stratoe and mulle^y 
With stones mened^ he filde also : 
Thus be thei full both tho. 

The king assembles his courtiers, and showing them the two chests, 
acquaints them, that one of these is filled with gold and jewels ; that 
they should choose which of the two they liked best, and that the con- 
tents should instantly be distributed among them all. A knight by 
common consent is appointed to choose for them, who fixes upon the 
chest filled with straw and stones. 

For which he abo dtes " the hokes of seith, an emperour/' &c Lib. ii. f. 41 b. 

LaHne^* ib. f. 45 a. col. 1. In the story coL 1. For the story of Carmidotoinu 

of Caius FabriciuB. *' In a Cronique I consul of Rome, he refers to these o&fe 

fynde thos." Lib. vii. 157 a. col. 2. Of hokes. Lib. ^ii. f. 1^7 b. col. 2. &c. &c 
the soothsayer and the emperor of Rome. ' coffers ; chests. > like. 

"AsinCaoNiKEitiswitholde."— "Which ^ saw. 

the Cb&onikb hath autorixed." Lib. vii. ' privily. 

t 154 b. coL 1. f. 155 b. col. 2. Of the > chest, 
emperor's son who serves the Soldan of ' gems. 

Persia. V There was as the CaoNiQUB ^ rubbish. 



This kynge then in the Bame stede^ 

Anone that other cofre undede^ 

Wherea» thei sawen grete lidbease 

Wile more than thei oouthea geaae. 

** LO)" saith the kynge, ** now maie je see 

That there is no default in mee : 

FortkyS myself I will I acquite. 

And bearetb your own wite 

Of that fortune hath yon refused."? 

It must be confessed, that there is a much greater and a more beau- 
tiful variety of incidents in this story as it is related in the Gesta Ro- 
MANORUM, which Shakespeare has followed, than in Gower : and was 
it not demonstrable, that this compilation preceded our autiior's age by 
some centuries, one would be tempted to conclude, that Gower's stoiy 
was the original fable in its simple unimproved state. Whatever was 
the case, it is almost certain that one story produced the other. 

A translation into English of the Gesta Romanordm was printed 
by Wynkyn de Worde, without date*. In the year 1577, one Richard 
Robinson published A Record <^ ancient Historyes, in Latin Gesta 
Rom ANORUM, perusedy corrected^ and bettered, by JR. Robinsony London^ 
1577^. Of this translation there were six impressions before the year 
1601'. The later editions, botk Latin and English, differ considerably 
from a manuscript belonging to the British Museum', which contains 

■ place. 

^ therefore. 

» Lib. ▼. f. 86 a. col. 1. seq. The 
story which follows is somewhat similar, 
in which the emperor Frederick places 
before two beggars two pasties, one filled 
with capons, the other with florins, ibid, 
b. col. 2. 

* [An unique copy of this edition, 
(which Dibdin and Douce soug)it for in 
vain) is preserved in St. John's, pollege, 
Cambridge. See some account of it in ^e 
Retrospective Review, vol. iL, and Harts- . 
home's Book Rarities of Cambridge. This 
edition forms the basis of those subse- 
quently modernised by Robinson and later 
revisers, down to the year 1689.— M.] 

^ In twelves. ^ See among the Royal 
ManuscripU, Brit Mus. "Richard Ro- 
binson's Eupolemia, Archippus and Pan- 
opUa; being an account of his Patrons 
and Benefactions, &c 1603." See fol. 5. 
MSS. Reg. 18. Alxvi. This R. Robinson, 
I believe, published Part rf the harmony 
of king Daoi^i harp* A translation of 
the first twenty-one psalms, for J. Wolfe, 
1582. 4to. A translation of Leland's As- 
sertio Arthurl, for the same, 1582. 4to. 
The auncient order iocietie, ^'c- of prince 
Jlrthure, and his knightly armory of the 

round table, in verse, fl>r the same, 1583. 

' There is an edition, in black letter, 
so late as 1689. 

* MSS. Harl. 2270. 1. See ibid. cap. 
xcix. for this story. Tit " Liber AeceH- 
eue cut tihdut Oesta Romanorum, cum 
Reductionibus the MoraUtatibus eontn- 
dem" There is an Ehgiish translation, 
ibid. MSS. Hari. 7333. This has the Jew*e 
bond and the Catkeie, In the same 
library there is a large collection of le- 
gendary tales in different hands, written 
on parchment, 8vo. MSS. Hart 231^. 
One of these is, *' De vera Amidtla, e* 
de Passione Christi : Narratio a Petro 
Alphonso." 18 fbl. 8 b. The history 
of the two friends here rekted, is told 
more at large in the Oesta Romanorum, 
where the friends are two knights. Pe- 
ter Alphonsus lived about 1110. This 
tale, I thinkTis Lydg^ie^sfdbula-dUontm. 
mercatorum, MSS. Harl. 2251, 33. fol. 56. 
" In Egipt whilom," &c. See abo 2255. 
17. fol. 72. Manuscripts of these Obsta 
occur thrice ip. the Bodleian library. 
MSS. Bodl. B. 3. 10. Ibid, super O. 1. 
Art. 17. And Hyper. Bodi. (Cod. Orav.) 
B. 55. 3. viz. NarraHonee brenee eGEBTiB^ 
RoMAMoauM et altar um. But tills last 


not only the storjr of the Caskets in Shakespeare's Merchant of 
VenicEi but that of the Jew's Bond in the same play^ I eannot ex- 
actly ascertain the age of this piece, which has many fictitious and 
fabulous facts intermixed with true history ; nor have I been able to 
discover the name of its compiler. 

It appears to me to have been formed on the model of Valerius 
Maximusi the favourite classic of the monks. It is quoted and com- 
mended as a true history, among many historians of credit, such aft 
Josephus> Orosius, Bede, and Eusebius, by Herman Komer, a Domi- 
nican friar of Lubec, who wrote a Chronica Novella, or history of 
the world, in the year 14*35^. 

In speaking of our author's sources, I must not omit a book trans-' 
lated by the unfortunate Antony Widville, first earl of Rivers, chiefly 
with a view of proving its early popularity. It is the Dwies or Say- 
ings rf PhUosophreSj which lord Rivers translated from the French of 
William de Thignonville, provost of the city of Paris about the year 
144)8, entitled Zes dietes maraux des phUotopheSy le$ dictes des sages ei 
les secrets d'Aristate^. The English translation was printed by Caxton, 
in the year 1477* Gower refers to this tract, which first existed in 
Latin, more than once ; and it is most probable that he consulted the 
Latin original^* 

It is pleasant to observe the strange mistakes which Gower, a man 
of great learning, and the most general scholar of his age, has com- 
mitted in this poem, concefning books which he never saw, his violent 
anachronisms, and misrepresentations of the most common facts and 
characters. He mentions the Greek poet Menander, as, one of the first 
historians, or *^ first enditours of the olde cronike," together with Esdras, 
Solinus, Josephus, Claudius Sulpieius, Termegis, Pandulfe, Frigidilles, 
Ephiloquorus, and Pandas. It is extraordinary that Moses should not 
here be mentioned, in preference to Esdras. Solinus is ranked so high, 
because he recorded nothing but wonders'; and Josephus, on account 

Mems ratber a defloration. In Hereibrd Imperatoruifl Libei^ MSS. Herl. 5259. i. 

caUiedial, 78. In Worcester cathedral, * ch. xlTiii. 

80. In (late) Bancough's (rector of "See Eccard^s Corp. Histor. torn. if. 

Totness) MSS. Cod. 82. 1. [now MS. p. 432—1343. Lips. 1723. fol. 

HarL 2270 7— M.] In (late) Sir Symonds ^ See Mem. de Litf. xvif . 745. 4to. 

D'Ewes's MSS. Cod. 150. 2. [now Harl. ^ Among these other "tales wUe of 

219.— M.] In Trinity college Dublin, philosophers in this wise I rede," &c. 

O. 325. At Oxford, Saint John's college, Lib. vii. £ 143 a. col. 1. £ 142 b. col. 2. 

twice, C. 31. 2. 0. 41. Magdalen college, &c. See Walpole's Cat royal and noble 

twice, Cod. Lat. 13. 60. Lincoln college authors. There is another translation, 

Libr. TheoL 60. See what is said of done in 1450, dedicated to Sir John Fas- 

QettSf supr. toL i. p. 69. Among the tolfe, knight, by his son-in-law Stettyn 

manuscript books written by Lapus de Scropst Squifer, MSS. Harl. 2265. Wil- 

Castellione, a Florentine civilian, and a liam de Thignonville is here said to have 

great translator firom Greek into Latin, translated this book into French for the 

about the year 1350, Balusius mentions use of king Charles the Sixth. 

De Origine Urbu Roma, et de Gestis Ro- * Our author has a story from Solinus 

manontm. What this piece is I cannot concerning a monstrous bird, lib. lit. f. 62 

ascertain. Apud Fabric. Bibl. Med. Inf. b. col. 2. See supr. vol. i. p. 91. N6te^ 
Latinitat iv. 722* Compare de Gc.>tis 


of his subject* had long been placed almost on a level with the Bible. 
He is seated on the first pillar in Chaucer's House of Fame. His 
Jewish History, translated into Latin by Rufinus in the fourth century, 
had given rise to many old poems and romances^ ; and his Maccabaics, 
or History of the seven Maccabees martyred with their father. Eleazar 
under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, a separate work, trans- 
lated also by Rufinus, produced the Judas Maccabee of Belle- 
perche in the year 1240, and at length enrolled the Maccabees among 
the most illustrious heroes of romance'. On this account too, perhaps, 
Esdras is here so respectably remembered. I suppose Sulpicius is 
Sulpicius Severus, a petty annalist of the fifth century, Termegis is 
probably Trismegistus, the mystic philosopher, certainly not an histo- 
rian, at least not an antient one. Pandulf seems to be Pandulph of 
Pisa, who wrote lives of the popes, and died in the year 1198^ Fri- 
gidiles is perhaps Fregedaire, a Burgundian, who flourished about the 
year 641, and wrote a chronicon from Adam to his own times ; often 
printed, and containing the best account of the Franks after Gregory 
of Tours ^ Our author, who has partly sufiered from ignorant tran- 
scribers and printers, by Ephiloquorus undoubtedly intended Eutropius. 
In the next paragraph, indeed, he mentions Herodotus ; yet not as an 
early historian, but as the first writer of a system of the metrical art, 
" of metre, of ryme, and of cadence ^" We smile, when Hector in 
Shakespeare quotes Aristotle : but Gower gravely informs his reader, 
that Ulysses was a clerke, accomplished with a knowledge of all the 
sciences, a great rhetorician and magician : that he learned rhetoric of 
Tully, magic of Zoroaster, astronomy of Ptolemy, philosophy of Plato, 
divination of the prophet Daniel, proverbial instruction of Solomon, 
botany of Macer, and medicine of Hippocrates'^. And in the seventh 
book, Aristotle, or the phihiophrey is introduced reciting to his scholar 
Alexander the Great, a disputation between a Jew and a Pagan, who 
meet between Cairo and Babylon, concerning their respective religions: 

y See aupra, p. 4. 105. ■ There U Boniface supplanting Celestine. " In a 

JosEPHUs (ie /a Battaillb Judaiqub Cronyke of tyme ago.*' Lib. ii. t 42 

translati de LcUin en Frangois, printed a. col. 2. 

by Yerard at Paris, 1480. fol. I think ^ See Ruinart. Dissertat de Fredega- 

it is a poem. All Josephua's works were no ejusque Operibus. torn. ii. Hist Franc, 

printed in the old Latin translation, at p. 443. There is also Fridegodus, a monk 

Verona, 1480. foL and frequently soon of Dover, who wrote the lives of some 

afterwards. They were translated into sainted bishops about the year 960 ; and 

French, German, Spanish, and Italian, a Frigeridus, known only by a reference 

and printed, between the years 1492 and which Gregory of Tours makes to the 

1554. See the Collana Greca, in Haym's twelfth hook of Me History, concerning the 

Bibliothec. p. 6. 7. A French translation times precedingValentinian the Third, and 

was made in 1460 or 1463. Cod. Reg. the capture of Rome by Totila. Gregor. 

Paris. 7015. Turonens. Hist. Francor. lib. ii. cap. 8. 9. 

* See supr. p. 4. In the British If this last be the writer in the text, a 
Museum there is " Maccabeorum et Jo- manuscript of Frlgeridus's History might 
sephi Historiarum Epitome, metrice.** have existed in Gower's age, which is now 
10 A. viii. 5. MSS. Reg. See MSS. HarL lost 

5713. « Lib. vi. f. 76 b. coL 1. 

* See the story, in our author, of pope ^ Lib. vi. f. 135 a. col. 1. 


the end of the etory is to show the cunning, cruelty, and ingratitude of 
the Jew, which are at last deservedly punished*. But I believe Gower's 
apology must be, that he took this narrative from some christian le- 
gend, which was feigned, for a religious purpose, at the expense of all 
probability and propriety. 

The only classic Roman writers which our author cites are Virgil, 
Ovid, Horace, ^d TuUy. Among the Italian poets, one is surprised 
he should not quote Betrarch : he mentions Dante only, who in the 
rubric is called " a certain poet'of Italy named Dante," quidampoeia 
lUdUs gut Dante vocabaiur^. He appears to have been well acquaint* 
ed with the Homilies of pope Gregory the greats, which were trans- 
lated into Italian, and printed at Milan, so early as the year 1479^ I 
can hardly decipher, and must therefore be excused from transcribing, 
the names of all the renowned authors which our author has quoted 
in alchemy, astrology, magic, palmistry, geomancy, and other branches 
of the occult philosophy. Among the astrological writers, he mentions 
Noah, Abraham, and Moses. But he is not sure that Abraham was an 
author, having never seen any of that patriarch's works : and he pre- 
fers Trismegistus ta Moses^. Cabalistical tracts were however extant, 
not only under the names of Abraham, Noah, and Moses, but of Adam, 
Abel, and Enoch*. He mentions, with particular regard, Rolemy's 
Almagest ; the grand source of all the superstitious notions propa- 
gated by the Arabian philosophers concerning the science of divination 
by the stars ^. These infatuations seem to have completed their triumph 
over human credulity in Gower's age, who probably was an ingenious 
adept in 'the false and frivolous speculations of this admired species of 

Gower, amidst his graver literature appears to have been a great 
reader of romances. The lover, in speaking of the gratification which 
his passion receives from the sense of hearing, says, that to hear his 
lady speak is more delicious than to feast on all the dainties that could 
be compounded by a cook of Lombardy. They are not so restorative 

As bin the wordes of hir mouth ; 
For as the wyndes of the South 
Ben most of all debonaire, 
So when hir lust' to speak faire, 
"^ The vertue of her goodly speche 

Is verily myne hartes leche™. 

* Lib. ni. f. 156 b. col. 2, ^ Mabillon mentions, in a manuscript 
f Lib. vii. r. 154 b. col. L of the Almagest written before the year 
> Prolog, f. 2 b. col. 1. Lib. v. £ ^93 1240, a drawing of Ptolemyi holding a 

a. col. 1. 2. f. 94 a. col. 1. mirror, not an optical tube, in bis hand, 
^ Lib. vii. C 134 b. col. 1. vii. i, 149 and contemplating the' stars. Itin. Gei- 

b. col. 1. manic, p. 40. 

* See supra, p. 168. Note^. And ' she chooses. 
Morhof. Polyhist. torn. ii. p. 455 seq. '"physician, 
edit 1747. 



Tbese are elegant venes. To hear her nng is paradise. Then be 

Full oft tyme it falleth so^ 
My ere" with a good pitaooe 
Is fed of redyngt ofnmumce 
Of Idotnb and Amadas, 
That whilom were in my«^ ; 
And eke of oiher^ maiKy a score^ 
That loved long ere I was bore^. 
For when I of her? loves rede, 
Myn ere with the tale I fede; 
And with the lust of her histoire, 
Sometime I draw into memoire, 
Howe sorrowe may not ever last, 
And so hope comith in at last^. 

The romance of Idotne and Amadas is recited as a favourite history 
among others, in the prologue to a collection of legends called CuRSon 
MUNDi, translated from the French ^ I have already observed our 
poet's references to Sir Lancelot's romance. 

Our author's account of the progress of the Latin language is ex- 
tremely curious. He supposes that it was invented by the old Tuscan 
prophetess Carmens ; that it was reduced to method, to eompo6ition» 
pronunciation, and prosody, by the grammarians Aristarchus, Donatus, 
and Didymns ; adorned with the flowers of eloquence and rhetoric by 
TuUy ; then enriched by translations from the Chaldee, Arabic, and 
Greek languages, more especially by the version of the Hebrew Bible 
into Latin by Saint Jerom, in the fourth century; and that at length, 
after the labours of many celebrated writers, it received its final con- 
summation in Ovid, the poet of lovers. At the mention of Ovid's name» 
the poet, with the dexterity and address of a true master of transition, 
seizes the critical moment of bringing back the dialogue to its proper 

The CoNFEssio Amantis was most probably written after Chaucer's 
Troilus and Cressida. At the dose of the poem, we are presented 
with an assemblage of the most illustrious lovers ^ Together with the 
renowned heroes and heroines of love, mentioned either in romantic or 
classical history, we have David and Bathsheba, Samson and Delilah, 
and Solomon with all his concubines. Vii^ also, Socrates, Plato, and 
Ovid, are enumerated as lovers. Nor must we be surprised to find 
Aristotle honoured with a place in this gallant group ; for whom, says 
the poet, the queen of Greece made such a syllogism as destroyed all 
his logic. But, among the rest, Troilus and Cressida are introduced ; 

* Mr. ' See supr. toI. i. p. 1S7. Nott^ 

• born. » their. • Ub. W. f. 77 b. cdl. 2. 

« Lib. Ti. f. 13S A. col. 9. < Lib. vtii. f. 158 a. col. T. 


seemingly with an intention of paying a compliment to Chaucer's poem 
on their story, which had been submitted to Gower's correction". Al- 
though this famous pair had been also recently celebrated in Boccacio's 
FiL08TRATo\ And in another place, speaking of his absolute devo- 
tion to his lady's will, he declares himself ready to acquiesce in her 
choice, whatsoever she shall command; whether, if when tired of 
dancing and caroling, she should choose to play at chess*, or read 
Troilus akd Cressida. This is certainly Chaucer's poem. 

That when her list on nights wake 
In chambre, as to carol and daunCe, 
Methinke I male me more avaunce. 
If I may gone upon hir honde. 
Than if I wynne a kynges londe. 
For whan I male her hand bedip^. 
With such gladness I daunce and skip, 
Methinketh I touch not the flbore ; 
The roe which renneth on the mOore 
. Is than nought so light as L-- ■ 
And whan it ihlleth other gate ', 
So that hir liketh not to daunce. 
But on the dyes to cast a chaunce. 
Or aske of love some demaunde ; 
Or els that her list commaunde 
To rede and here of Troilus ^ 

That this poem was written after Chaucer's Flours and Lkafe, may 
be partly collected fh>m the following passage, which appears to be an 
imitation of Chaucer, and is no bad specimen of Gowei's most poetical 
manner. Roaiphele, a beautiful princess, but setting love at defiance, 
the daughter of Herupus king of Armenia, is taught ob^ence to the 
laws of Cupid by seeing a vision of Ladies. 

Whan come was the moneth of Maie, 
She wolde walke upon a dale. 
And that was er the son arist*, 
Of women but a fewe it wist * ; 

* Chaucer's Tr. and Creii. Urr. edit gammon, and refen to the foUowing line, 
pi. SS3. in proof: 

' See ropr. p. 162. Bvitonthedyuio catt a chaumee. 

* [Sir Herbert Croft turmuet, with good p^ m^ i 
reason, that this play was not eheu. See ^ 

line 13 in the verses here cited; and again ^ clasp. 

inanother passage of the same poem, fol. 7 „ T.^^*. « -^ 

b. col. S. ^^^' '^' *• ^® •*• ^'' *• 

He that playeth at the di$i, ftc . „ g^^ ^ f^^ ^^ j,„ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ 

Herbert, the typographical antiquary, this." 
soggcsu the probability of hasard or back- 



And forth she went prively, 
Unto a parke was faste by, 
All softe walkenede on the gras, 
Tyll she came there** the launde was. 
Through which ran a great rivere, 
It thought her fayre ; and said, here 
I will abide under the shawe ; 
And bad hir women to withdrawe : 
And ther she stood alone stille 
To thinke what was in her wille. 
She sighe*" the swete floures sprynge. 
She herde glad fowles synge ; 
She sigh beastes in her kynde, 
The buck, the doo, the hert, the hynde. 
The males go with the feraele : 
And so b^an there a quarele^ 
Betwene love and her owne herte 
Fro whiche she couthe not asterte. 
And as she cast hir eie aboute, 
She sigh, clad in one suit, a route 
Of ladies where thei comen ride 
Alonge under the woodd^ side ; 
On fayre ambulende * hors thei set, 
That were al whyte, fayre, and gret ; 
» And everichone ride on side K 

The sadels were of such a pride, 
So riche sighe she never none ; 
With perles and golde so wel begone. 
In kirtels and in copes riche 
Thei were clothed all aliche*, 
Departed even of white and blewe. 
With all lustes^ that she knewe 
Thei wer embroudred over all : 
Her' bodies weren longe and small, 
The beautee of hir fayre face, 
There mai none erthly thing deface : 
Corownes on iheUr heades thei bare. 
As eche of hem a quene were. 
That all the golde of Cresus hall 
The least coronall of all 
Might not have boughte, after the worth 
Thus comen thei ridend forthe. 

^ there where. ' A mark of high rank. 

* taw. ' dispute. ' alike. 

* ambling. ^ lists ; colours, * their. 


The kjnges doughter, whiche this sigh, 
For pure abas«he drewe hir adrigh, 
And helde hir close undir the bough. 

At length she sees riding in the rear of this splendid troop, on a 
horse lean, galled, and lame, a beautiful lady in a tattered garment, 
her saddle mean and much worn, but her bridle richly studded with 
gold and jewels; and round her waist were more than a hundred hal- 
ters. The princess asks the meaning of this strange procession ; and is 
answered by the kdy on the lean horse, that these are spectres of ladies, 
who, when living, were obedient and faithful votaries of love. '< As to 
myself," she adds, " I am now receiving my annual penanee for being 
a rebel to love." 

For I whilom no love had ; 

My hone is now feble and badde, 

And al to torn is myn araie ; 

And everie year this freshe Male 

These lustie ladies ride aboute, 

And I must nedes sew'' her route, 

In this manner as ye nowe see, 

And trusse her hallters forth with mee, 

And am but her horse-knave '• 

The princess then asks her, why she wore the rich bridle, so incon- 
sistent with the rest of her furniture, her dress, and horse ? The hidy 
answers, that it was a badge and reward for having loved a knight faith- 
fully for the last fortnight of her life. 

Now have ye herde all mine answere ; 
To god, madam, I you betake. 
And wameth all, for my sake, 
Of love, that thei be not idell. 
And bid hem thinke of my bridell. 
And with that worde, all sodenly 
She passeth, as it ^were a skie '", 
All clean out of the ladies sighf^. 

My readers will easily conjecture the change which this spectacle 
must naturally produce in the obdurate heart of the princess of Arme- 
nia. There is a farther proof that the Flours and Leafs preceded 
the CoNFSSsio Amantis. In the eighth book, our author's lovers are 
crowned with the Flower and Leaf. 

Myn eie I caste all aboutes, 

To knowe amonge hem who was who : 

I sigh where lustie Youth tho, 

k follow. • a shadow; 2*4o, um^a. 

^ their groom. * Lib. ir. f. 70 scq. 


Afl he which was a capitayne 
Before all otben on the plajne, 
Stode with his route wel b^on : 
Her heades kempt^ and thereupon 
Garlondes not of one colour. 
Some of the l^e^ some of the^/fotir^ 
And some of grete perles Vere : 
The new guise of Beme<> was there, &C.P 

I believe on the whc^e, that Chaiicer had published most of his poena 
before this piece of Gower appeared. Chaucer had not however at this 
time written his Testament or Lovx : for Gower, in a sort of Epi- 
logue to the CoNFESSio Amantis, is addressed by Venus, who com- 
mands him to greet Chaucer as her favourite poet and disciple, as one 
who had employed his youth in composing songs and ditties to her 
honour. She adds at the close, 

For thy, now in his dmu oUs, 
Thou shalt hym tell this message, 
That he upon his fafer age 
To sette an ende of all his werke 
As l^e, which is myne owae derke. 
Do make his Testament or Love, 
As thou hast done thy shriete above : 
So that my court it male recorded. 

Chaucer at this time was sixty-five yean of age. The Court of Love» 
one of the pedantries of French gallantry, occurs often* In an addreaa 
to Venus, << Madame, I am a man of thyne, that in thy Courte hath ser- 
ved long V The lover observes, that for want of patience^ a man ought 
** amonge the women alle, in Loves Coijrte, by judgemaU the name 
beare of padant V The confessor declares, that many persons are con- 
demned for disclosing secrets, ^ In Lovss Courte, as it is said, that 
lette their tonges gone imtide V By Thy Shriete, the author meaoa 
his own poem now before us, the Lover's Coneession. 

There are also many manifest evidences which lead us to conclude, 
that this poem preced^ Chaucer's Canterbury's Tales, undoubtedly 
some of that poet's latest compositions, and probably not begun till after 
the year 1382. The Man or Lawes Tale is circumstantially bor- 
rowed from Gower's Cokstantia^: and Chaucer, in that Tale, ap- 
parently censures Gower, for his manner of relating the stories of Cap 
nace and ApoUonius in the third and eighth books of the Coneessio 

^ Boeme ; BohemU. 218. In the tame strain we have Cupld'a 

» Lib. Til. 1 188 a. coL 1. See supr. p. fwrUmtmt. Lib. ▼lli. t 187 b. coL S. 

228. * Conf. Amant. Lib. iL f. 80 b. coL 8. 

« Lib. Till. f. 190 b. col. 1. See partieuUrly, ibid. f. 8S b. ooL 2 a. 

' Lib. i. f. 8 b. col. 1. col. 1. And compare Ch. Man of L. T. 

' * Lib. iii. £ 51 a. coL 1. v. 5505. « Some men wold wyn, *c'* 

* Lib. iii. £ 52 a. col. 1. See lupr. p. That it, Gower. 


Amamti8^« The WivB of Bathes Talb is founded on Gower's Flo- 
i«nt> a knight of Rome, who delivers the king of Sicily's daughter from 
the incantations of her step-mother*. Although the Gbsta Romano- 
RUM might have furnished both poets vith this narrative. /Chaucer, 
however, amOng other great improvements, has judiciously departed 
from the fable, in converting Sicdly into the more popular court of king 

Perhapcs in estimating Gower*s merit, I have pushed the notion too 
far, that because he shows so much learning he had no great share of 
natural abilities.. But it should be considered, that when books began 
to grow fashionable, and the reputation of learning conferred the high- 
est honour, poets became ambitious of being thought scholars ; and sa- 
crificed their native powers of invention to the ostentation of displaying 
an extensive course of reading, and to^the pride of profound erudition. 
On this account, the minstrels of these times, who were totally unedu- 
cated, and poured forth spontaneous rhymes in obedience to the work- 
ings of nature, often exhibit more genuine strokes of passion and ima- 
gination than the professed poets. Chaucer is an exception to this ob- 
servation ; whose original feelings were too strong to be suppressed by 
books, and whose learnibg was overbalanced by genius. 

This affectation of appearing learned, which yet was natural at the 
revival of literature, in our old poets, even in those who were altogether 
destitute of talents, has lost to posterity many a curious picture of man- 

^ See Chancer, ibid.T. 4500. And Conf. [See tupr. p. 133. Note*.] Salviad, in 
Amant Lib. iiu £ 48 a. goL 1. seq. Lib. his Awertimenti, mcntiont an Italian ro- 
▼iU. £ 17S a. ool. 2. seq. I have just dis« mance on this subject, which he supposes 
covered, that the fiiTourite story of ApoU to have been written about the year 1330. 
lonius, having appeared in ancient Greelcy Lib. ii. c. 12. Velser first published this 
Latin, Saxon, barbarous Greek, and dd romance in Latin at Augsburg, in 1595. 
Frendi, was at length translated ffook 4to. The story is here much more ele- 
French into English, and printed in the gantly told than in the Oesta Romano- 
black letter, by Wynkyn de Worde, A. D. rum. In Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon* 
1510. 4to. ** Kynge Appolyn of Thyre." it is in Leonine verse. There has been 
[See supr. p. 133. Note'.] A copy is in even a German translation of this iavor- 
my possession. ite tale, vis. "Historia ApoUonii Tyriss 
[A Greco-barbarous translation of the et Sidoniss regis ex Latino sermone in 
romance of Apollonius of Tyre was made Oermanicum translata. August VindeL 
by one Gabriel Contianus^, a Grecian, apud Gintherum Zainer, 1471. fol." At 
about the year 1500, as appears by a ma- the end is a German colophon, importing 
nuscript in the imperial library at Vien- much the same.— Additions.] 
na*; and printed at Venice in 1503. * Lib. i. f. 15 b. col. 2. 

* VafipinK Kovriayot. Perhaps KmvfrravTivM, 

* LambecG. Catal. Bibl. Cssar. Nesselii Suppl. torn. i. p. 841. MSS. Gnsc cczlit. 
(Vind. et Norinb. 1690. fol.) Pr. ''Ms^ofav tov Iffvw Xpurrov.** Fin. "IXotq/ia 
iv afTOxttp^ TappttiX Kovrtavuf" ftc This Is in prose. But under this dass of 
the Imperial library, Nesseltus recites many manuscript poems inihe Greco-barbarous 
metre of the fifteenth century or thereabouts, vis. The Lwet o/Hemperhu; Detcrip* 
titm qfthe eity qf Venice s The romanee qfFhrhte and Piats^oraf The BUudneet and 
Beggary i^BettearUuf TheTrt^anWan OfHeU; Cf am Earthquake in the leU of Crete^ 
Ac. These were all written at the restoration of learning in lUly. [See supr. p. 132. 
Note ».] 

248 GOWBB's P0BM8. fsBGT.XIX* 

ners, and many a romantic image. Some of our ancient terds, how- 
ever, aimed otlier merit, than that of being able to yersify ; and 
attempted nothing more than to clothe in rhyme those sentiments, which 
would have appeared with equal propriety in prose. 

In lord Gower*s library, there is a thin oblong manuscript on vellum, 
containing some of Gower's poems in Latin, French, and English. By 
an entry in the first leaf, in the hand-writing, and under the signature, 
of Thomas lord Fairfax, Cromwell's general, an antiquarian, and a lover 
and collector of curious numuscripts ', it appears that this book was 
presented by the poet Cower, about the year 1400, to Henry the Fourth ; 
and that it was given by lord Fairfax to his friend and kinsman sir 
Thomas Gower, knight and baronet, in the year 1656. By another en- 
try, lord Fairfax acknowledges to' have received it, in the same year, as 
a present, from that leanud gentleman Charles Gedde esquire, of saint 
Andrews in Scotland : aad at the end, are five or six Latin anagrams 
on Gedde, written and signed by lord Fairfax, with this title, ''In no- 
MEK venerandi et annosi Amiei sui Caroli Geddei." By king Henry 
the Fourth it seems to have b^en placed in the royal library : it appears 
at least to have been in the hands of king Henry the Seventh while earl 
of Richmond, from the name JRychemandy inserted in another of the 
blank leaves at the beginning, and explained by this note, ''Liber 
Henrici Septimi tunc Comitis Richmond, propria manu scripsit." This 
manuscript is neatly written, with miniated and illuminated initiab : 
and contains the following pieces. I. A Panegyric in stanzas, with a 
Latin prologue or rubric in seven hexameters, on -king Henry the 
Fourth. This pdem, commonly called Carmen de Pads dmmenda- 
Hone in laudem Henrici QuarHy \a printed in Chaucer's Works, edit. 
Urr. p. 540. — ^11. A short Latin poem in elegiacs on the same subject, 
beginning, " Bex cceii deus et dominus qui tempora sobu*" [MSS. 
Cotton. Otho. D. i. 4.] This is followed by ten other very short 
pieces, both in French and English, [Latin] of the same tendency. — 
III. CiNKANTE Balades, or Fifty Sonnets in French. Part of the first 
is illegible. They are closed with the following epilogue and colophon. 

y He gave twenty-ntne ancient manu- by the parliamentary forces, exerted his 

scripts to the Bodleian library, one of utmost diligence in preserving the Bod- 

which is a beautiful manuscript of Oower's leian library from pillage ; so that it suf- 

Confcssio Amantis. When the Record- fered much less, than when that city was 

tower in St. Mary's abbey at York was in the possession of the royalists, 
accidentally blown up in the grand rebel* *[The minute title of this [Latin poem] 

lion, be offered rewards to the soldiers is at the close of the English poem, and 

who could bring him fragments of the doesnotezactly accord with Mr. Warton's 

scattered parchments. Luckily, however, assertion : " Explicit carmen de pads com- 

the numerous original evidences lodged in mendatione quod ad laudem et memoriam 

this repository had been Just before trans- serenissimi prindpis domini R«»gis Hen- 

cribed by Roger Dodsworth ; and the rid qiiard suus humilis orator Johannes 

transcripts, which formed the ground- Gower compo«uit. Et nunc teqttitur EfA' 

work of Dugdale's Monasticon, consisting $tola in qua idem Johannes pro statu et 

of forty -nine large folio volumes, were be- saUUe tUeti domini sui altissimi devocius 

qucaihed by Fairfax to the same library. rxora/."— -Todd.] 
Fairfax also, when Oxford was garrisoned 

$1CT. SIX.] gowbr's pobms. 249 

O gentile Engleterre a toi i'escrits, 
Pour remembrer ta ioie q'est nouelle, 
Qe te survient du noble Roy Henris, 
Par qui dteus ad redrest^ ta querele ; 
A dieu pur ceo prient et oil et celle, 
Q'il de sa grace, au fort Roi coron^, 
Doignt peas, honour, ioie et prosperity. 

Expliciunt carmina Johis Gower que GalUce composiia Balades di- 
cuntur, — ^IV. Two short Latin poems in elegiacs. The First beginning, 
^Eccepaiet tensus ceci Cupidinis arcusr The second, *'0 NaJtura viri 
potuit quam toUere nemo,*' — V. A French poem, imperfect at the begin- 
ning. On the Dignity or Excellence of Marriage^ in one book. The 
subject is illustrated by examples. As no part of this poem was ever 
printed, I transcribe one of the stories. 

Qualiter Jason uxorem suam Medeam relinquens, Creusam Creontis 
regis filiam sihi ccPmaliter copulavit* Verum ipse cum duobusJUiis suis 
postea inforiunatus [decessif], 

Li prus Jason q'en Tisle de Colchos 
Le toison d'or, pour Vaide de Medee 
Conquist, dont il donour portoit grant loos, 
Par tout le monde encourt la renomee ; 
La joefne dame oue soi ad amenee 
De son pays en Greoe, et I'espousa 
Freinte espousaile dieus le vengera I 

Quant Medea meulx qui de etre en repos 
Ove son mari et q'elle avoit port6 
Deux fils de luy, lors changea le purpos 
£1 q'elle Jason per^mer fuist oblig^ ; 
11 ad del tout Medeam refus^. 
Si prist la file au roi Creon Creusa 
Freinte espousaile dieus le yengera ! 

Medea q'ot le coer de dolour cloos, 
En son corous, et ceo fuist grant pit6f 
Ses joefnes fils qu'eux ot jadis en clos 
Deinz ses costees ensi com forsen^e 
Devant ses oels Jason ele ad ture 
Ceo q en fuist fait pecche le fortuna 
Freinte espousaile dieus le vengera. 

Towards the end of the piece, the poet introduces an apology for any 
inaccuracies, which, as an Englishman, he may have committed in the 
French idiom. v 

Al university de tout le monde 
JoFiAN GowER ceste Balade envoie; 
Et si ieo nai de Francois la faconde, 


P^oDetz moi qe ieo de ceo forayoie. 

Jeo 8ui0 Englois i ak quier par tiek Yoie 

Estre excoB^ mais quoique nulls en die 

L'amour parflt en dieu ee justifie. 
It is finished with a few Latin hexameters, yiz. ''Qnis sit yel qualis sa- 
cer ordo connubiaMs*." This poem occurs at the end of two valuable 
folio manuscripts, illuminated and on yeflum, of the Cokfessio Aman- 
Tis, in the Bodleian Library, yiz. MSS. Fairfax, iil. And NE. F. 8. 
9. Also in the manuscript at All Souls college Oxford, MSS. xxyL 
described and cited aboye. And in MSS. Harl. S869. In all [these^ 
and, I believe, in many others, it is properly connected with the Con- 
FE88I0 Amantis, by the following rubric. ** Puisqu'il ad dit cidxvant 
en Englois, par voie dessample, la sotie de cellui qui par amours aimie 
par especial, dirra ore apres en Francois a tout le mond en general 
une traitie selonc les auctors, pour essemplar les amants mariez,** &c 
It begins, 

Le creature du tout creature* 
But the CiNQUANTB Balades, or fifty French Sonnets above-men- 
tioned, are the curious and valuable part of lord Gower's manuscript. 
They are not mentioned by those who have written the Life of this 
poet, or have catalogued his works. Nor do they appear in any other 
manuscript of Gower which I have examined. But if they should be 
discovered in any other, I will venture to pronounce, that a more au- 
thentic, unembarrassed, and practicable copy than this before us, wiU 
not be produced ; although it b for the most part unpointed, and ob- 
scured with abbreviations, and with those mis-spellings which flowed 
from a scribe unacquainted with the French language. 

To say no more^ however, of the value which these little pieces may 
derive from being so scarce and so little known, they have ikiuch real 
and intrinsic merit. They are tender, pathetic, and poetical ; and place 
our old poet Gower in a more advantageous point of view than that in 
which he has hitherto been usually seen. I know not if any even 
among the French poets themselves, of this period, have left a set of 
more finished sonnets; for they were probably written when Grower 
was a young man, about the year 1S50. Nor had yet any English 
poet treated the passion of love with equal delicacy of sentiment, and 
elegance of composition. I will transcribe four of these balades as cor- 
rectly and intelligibly as I am able ; although I must confess, there are 
some lines which I do not exactly comprehend. 

Baladb xxxvi. 
Pour comparer ce jolif temps de Maij, 
Jeo le dirrai semblable a Paradis ; 
Car lors chantont et merie et papegai, 

* [After which follows the poet's rela- the Co^fettio Amantit, ''Henrici Quarti 
cioD of his blindness, as in some copies of primui regni fnit annns," ftc— Todd.] 


Les chAmps soat Tert» lea herbes soot floria ; 

Lon est Natttre dame da paijs : 

Dont VemiB poignt Tanuot an tiel Bsum, 

QfemeotUf amfmr n^est qmpoei dire'Nai, 
QaDt tout ceo yoi, et qe ieo penserai, 

Coment Nature ad tout le mond snspris, 
Dont pour le temps se fait minote et gai, 
£t ieo des autres em soulein horpris. 
Com oil qui sanz amie est vrais amis, 
N'est pas mervaile lors si ieo mesmai, 

Rencontre amour n*eH qui poet dire Nai* 
£n lieu de rose, urtie cuilleraiy 

Dont mes chapeals ferrai par tiel derisy 
Qe tout ioie et confort ieo lerrai^ 
Si celle soule en qui iai mon coer miB, 
Selonc le point qe iai soyent requis, 
Ne deigne alegger les griefs mals qe iai> 

(^enecmire anumr n'esi qui pod dire Nat. 
Pour pite querre et pourehacer mercis, 
Va t'en balade u ieo t* envoierai, 
Q'ore en certain ieo I'ai tresblen apris 

Q'efuxmire anumr n'eti qui pod dire Nat. 


Saint Valentin, rAmour, et la Nature, 

Des toutz oiseals ad en gouemement, 

Dont chascun deauz, semblable a sa mesure, 

Une compaigne honeste a son talent 

Eslist, tout d'un accord et d'un assent. 

Pour celle soule laist a covenir ; 

Toutes les autres car Nature aprent 
UH Caere est le corps faU cbeir* 
Ma doulce Dame, ensi ieo vous assure, 

Qe ieo vous ai eslieu semblablement, 

Sur toutes autres estes dessure 

De mon amour si tresentierement, 

Qe riens y fait par quoi ioiousement, 

De coer et corps ieo vous Yoldrai servir. 

Car de reson cest une experiment, 
UU eoers est le corps fak obeir. 
Pour remembrer iadis celle aventure 

De Alceone et Ceix ensement. 

Com dieus muoit en oisel lour figure, 

Ma volenti serroit tout tielement 


Qe sans envie et danger de la gent. 
Nous porroions enBemble par loisir 
Voler tout francs en nostre esbatement - 

Uii coerg est le corps fak obdr. 
Ma belle oisel, vers qui mon pensement 
Sen vole ades sanz null contretenir, 
Pren cest escript car ieo sai voirement^ 

U li coers est le corps faU obeir. 

Balade xliii. 
, Plus tricherous qe Jason a Med^e, 

A Deianire ou q' Ercules estoit, 
Plus q' Eneas q'avoit Dido lessee. 
Plus qe Theseus q* Adriagne* amoit, 
Ou Demephon quant Phillis oublioit, 
Te trieus, helas, q'amer iadis soloie, 
Dont chanterai desore en mon endroit 

CTest ma dolour qefuisi aincois majois, 
Unq*es Ector q'ama Pantasil6e% 

En tiele bftste a Troie ne s'armoit, 
Qe tu tout nud nes deinz le lit couch6 
Amis as toutes quelqe venir doit, 
Ne poet chaloir mais q*une femme y soit. 
Si es oomun plus qe la halte voie, 
Helas, qe la fortune me decoit, 

C*€St ma dolour qefuist aincois majoie. 
De Lancelot ^ si fuissetz remembre, 

Et de Tridtrans, com il se countenoit, 
GeneridesS Florent*, Par Tonope*. 

* Ariadne. romance called Le bone Florence de 

• Pcnthesilea. Rome, which begins, 

*» Sir Lancelot's intrigue with Geneura, . - . . 

king Arthur's queen, and sir Tristram's ^ '«"** *•* ™*" "*** °' «°"- 

with Bel Isoulde, incidents in Arthur's rot f know not if this be Shakspeare'a Flo- 

mance, are made the subject of one of the rentius, or Florentio, Tam. Shr. i. 5. 

stories of the French poem just cited, viz. « . .. , « 

'^ '' Be she as foul as was Florentius' love. 

Commes sont la cronique et I'istoire ro-^ j e^ i. i j 

De L«.ce... et TH..4™ e„.e»e„t, *. J^a^r^r rXnrhrJ^ot' S: 

° Tills name, of which I know nothing, slighest connexion with Shakspeare's sto- 

must be corruptly w^ritten. ry. Tiie romance itself was printed by 

' Chaucer's Wife of Bathes Tale is Ritson, in his Metrical Romances, voL iii., 
founded on the story of Florent, a knight from the only known copy among More's 
of Rome, who delivers the king of Sicily's MSS. Na 600. in the public library, Cam- 
daughter from the enchantments of her bridge. See his Notes, p. 340, and Todd's 
step-mother. His story is also in our au- Illustrations, p. 107.— -M.] 
thor's Confessio Amantis, Lib. iii. fol. 48 * That is Partenope, or Parthenopent, 
a. col. 1. seq. £ib. viii. fol. 175 a. col. 2. one of Statius's heroes, on whom there is 
seq. And in the Gesta Romanorum. [See an old French romance. See supr. voL i. 
supr. p. 247.] Percy [Num; 2.] recites a p. 1 40. [where this statement is corrocted.] 


Chascun de ceaux sa loialte guardoit ; 
Mais tu, helas, q'est ieo qe te forsvoit 
De moi q'a toi iamab null iour falsoie, 
Tu 68 a large et ieo sui en destroit,' 

CTest ma dolour qefuist aincois majoie. • 
Des toutz les mab tu q'es le plus maloit» 
Ceste compleignte a ton oraille envoie 
Sante me latst, et langour me recoit, 

C*e^ ma dolour g^fuist aincois majoie, 

Balade xxx.^ 

Si com la nief, quant le fort vent tempeste, 

Pur halte mier se tome ci et la. 

Ma dame, ensi mon coer maint en tempeste^ 

Quant le danger de vo parole orra, 

Le nief qe votre bouche soufflera, 

Me fait sigler sur le peril de vie, 

Q'esi en danger faU qu'U merci supplie, 
Rois Uluxes, sicom nous dist la Geste, 

Vers son paiis de Troie qui sigla, 

N'ot tiel paour du peril et moleste, 

Quant les Sereines en la mier passa, 

Et le danger de Circes eschapa, 

Qe le paour n'est plus de ma partie, 

^est en danger fait qu'il merci gupplie. 
Danger qui tolt d'amour toute la feste, 

Unq*es iin mot de confort ne sona, 

Ainz plus cruel qe n'est la fiere beste 

Au point quant danger me respondera. 

La chiere porte et quant le nai dirra, 

Flusque la mort m'estone celle oie 

QfeH en danger fak qu'il merci supplie. 
Vers Tous, ma bone dame, horspris cella, 

Qe danger maint en yostre compainie, 

Ceste balade en mon message irra 

^est en danger faU qu*il merci st^fplie. 

For the use, and indeed the knowledge, of this manuscript, I am ob- 
liged to the unsolicited kindness of Lord Trentham; a fiiYour which his 
lordship was pleased to confer with the most polite condescension*. 

* [Warton*8 account of Lord Stafibrd't the exception of the poem <'De Pacto 

MS. was reprinted, with some few addi- Conmiendatione," waa printed by Lord 

tions by Todd, in his Illustrations of Oower for the Members of the Roxburghe 

Qower, 8to. 1810. pp. 95-108. And in Club.— M.] 
1818, the entire contenU of the MS., with. 



BoeMus* Whyy and how mucky esteemed in the middle age». 7VflM#- 
lalted hy Johannes CapeUanus^ the only poet of the reign of king 
Henry the Fourth. Number of harpers at the coronaHon feast of 
Henry the Fifth* A minstrelpiece on the BaUayle of Agynkourte. 
Ocdeve. His poems* Fgidius de Regimine Principumy and Jacobus 
f^ OxsaliDe Lmdo Scaecorum. Chauce/'s picture. Hun^hr^duke 
cf Gloucester. Sketch of his character asapatramofUteratssre* Apo^ 
logy far the Gallicisms of Chaucer ^ Gower^ and Oedeve. 

One of the reasons which rendered the classic authors of the lower 
empire more popular than those of a purer age, was because they 
were Christians. Among these, no Roman writer appears to have been 
more studied and esteemed, from the beginning to the close of the bar- 
barous centuries^ than Boethins. Yet it is certain, that his allegorical 
personifications and his visionary philosophy, founded on the abstrac- 
tions of the Platonic school, greatly concurred to make him a &- 
Yourite*. His Consolation of PHiLosoPHit was translated into the 
Saxon tongue by king Alfred, the father of learning and civility in the 
midst of a rude and intractable people ; and illustrated with a com- 
mentary by Asser bishop of Saint David's, a prelate patronised by Al- 
fred for his singular accomplishments in literature^ about the year 890. 
Bishop Grosthead is said to have left annotations on this admired sy- 
stem of morality. There is a very, ancient manuscript of it in the Lau- 
rentian library, with an inscription prefixed in Saxon characters \ 
There are few of those distinguished ecclesiastics, whose erudition illu- 
minated* the thickest gloom of ignorance and superstition with uncom- 
mon lustre, but who either have cited this performance, or honoured it 
with a panegyric^. It has had many imitators. Eccard, a learned 
French Benedictine, wrote in imitation of this Consolation of Phi- 

* It If obsenrable, that this spirit of toColerinut; and commanded liim to as- 

Pertonification tinctures the inridngs of sume the office of Reader, which he in 

some of the christian fiithers, about, or humility had declined. Cyprian. Epist. 

rather before, this period. Most of the zxxiz. edit Ozon. The church appear- 

agents in the Shepherd of Hennas are ing as a woman they perhaps had from 

i^al beings. An ancient lady convenes the Scripture, Rev. idL 1. Eedras, eec 

with Hennas, and tells him that she is the ** Mabillon. Itin. ItaL p. %%h 

Churcb of God. Afterwards several ' He is much commended as a catho- 

virgins appear and discourse with him; lie and philosopher by Hincmarus arch* 

and when he derires to be informed who bishop of Rheims, about the year 880. 

they are, he la told bj^the Shepherd-An- De Praedestinat. contr. Godesehalch. tom. 

gel, that they are Faitv, ABSTurBWCB, 1. 211. ii. 62. edit. Sirmond. And by John 

P-ATIBMCB, Cbastitt, Concord, fte. of Salisbury, for his eloquence and arga- 

Saint Cyprian relates, that the chureh ap- ment Policrat riL 15. And by many 

peartd in a vision, in tMvM per noctmm, odMr wrileri of the sane dase. 


L080PHT» a work in verse and proee containing ^re booksy entitled the 
Consolation ov the Monks, about the year il20^. John Gerson 
akoy a doctor and chancellor of the university of Paris, wrote the Con- 
solation OF Theology in four books, about the year 1420^ It was 
the model of Chaucer's Testament ov Love. It was translated into 
F^rench ' and English before the year 1850*. Dante was an attentive 
reader of Boethius. In the Purgatorio, Dante gives Theology the 
■ame of Beatrix his mistress, the daughter of Fulco Portinari, who very 
gravely moralises in that character. Being ambitious of following Vir« 
gH's steps in the descent of Eneas into hell, he introduces her, bb a 
daughter of the empyreal heavens, bringing Virgil to guide him through 
that duck and dangerous region^. Leland, who lived when true litems 
tnre b^an to be restored, says that the writings of Boethius stiH con- 
tinued to retain that hs^ estimation which they had acquired in the 
most eariy periods. I had abnost forgot to observe, tiiat the Conso- 
lation was translated into Greek by Maximus Flanudes, the most 
learned and ingenious of the Constantinopolitan monks'. 

I can assign only one poet to the reign of king Henry the Fourth, 
and this a translator of Boethius^. He is called Johannes Capellanus, 
or John the Cktq^lainy and he trandated into English verae the treatise 
De Consolationb Philosophic in the year 1410. His name is John 
Walton*. He was canon of Oseney, and died subdean of York. It 
appears probable^ that he was p«fcn>nised by Thomas Chaundler, among 
other prefennents, dean of the king^s chapel and of Hereford cathedral, 
chancellor of Wells, and successivdy warden of Wykeham's two col- 
leges at Winchester and Oxford ; characterised by Antony Wood as 
an able critic in polite literature, and by Leland as a rare example of a 

* See Tiitbcm. cap. 3S7. de S.E. And ' See Pttrgat Cant. zxz. 

Illiistr. Benedictin. ii. 107. > Montfiiiic. BibL CoiiUn. p. 140. Of 

* Opp. torn. L p. 130. edit. Dupin. I a Hebrew venion, see Wolf. BibL Hebr. 
ddnk tbere ia a Frendi ComsolaTIO torn. i. p. 229. 1092. 248. 354. 3S9. 
Theolooub by one Cerisier. ^ I am aware that Oedere's poem, 

[John de Tambaco wrote also a Con- called the Letter of Cupid» was written in 

■OLATION OF Theoloot in 15 books, this lung's reign in the year 1402. '< In 

1360. It was very early printed, without the year of grace Joyfull and Jooonde, a 

name, date, signature, pa^ng, or catch- thousand fewer hundred and seconde." 

word. Herbert, MS. note. — Park.] Urry's Chaucer, p. 537. t. 475. But there 

' See Haym, p. 199. are reasons for making Occleve, as I have 

' Beside John of Meun's French ver- done, something later. Nor is Oower's 

sion of Boethius, printed at Lyons, 1483, Balade to Henry the Fourth a sufficient 

with a translation of Virgil by Ouillaume reason for placing him in that reign. Ibid, 

le Roy, there is one by De Cis, or Thri, p» 540. The same may be said of ChaUf< 

an old French poet. Matt. Anna!. Ty- cer. 

pogr. i. p. 171. Francisc. a Cmce, BibL * [A manuscript of thb work noticed 

Gallic, p. 216. 247. It was printed in by Mr. Todd has the following colophon: 

t>utch at Ghent, apnd Arend de Keyser, " Explicit liber Boedi de consolacione phi- 

1485. foL In Spanish at VaUadolid, 1598. losophie de latino in Anglicnm translatua 

foL See supr. p. 216. Polycarpus Ley- ainio d2i millesiBK> ccccx*. per CapeHa- 

sems, in that very scarce book, De Poesi num Johannem Teband alias Watyr- 

Medii JEv\, [printed Hal«, 1721, Syo.] beche." Illustraiions of Gewer and 

enumerates many curious old editions of Chaucer, Ii^trod. p. zzxi.] 
Boethius, p. 95. 105. 


doctor in theology who graced scholastic disputation with the flowers 
of a pure latinity'. In the British Museum there is a correct manu- 
script on parchment of Walton's translation of Boethius : and the mar* 
gin is filled throughout with the Latin text, written by Chaundler above- 
mentioned™. There is another less elegant manuscript in the same 
collection. But at the end is this note ; EoeplicU liber Boeeij de Con* 
sokuiane Philos&phie de Latino in Anglicwn tra$ulcUus A. D. 1410. per 
CapeUanum Joannem^. This is the beginning of the prologue, ''In 
suffisaunce of cunnyng and witte." And of the translation, ''Alas I 
wretch that whilom was in welth." I have seen a third copy in the li- 
brary of Lincoln cathedral^ and a fourth in Baliol college p. This is 
the translation of Boethius printed in the monastery of Tavistoke, in 
the year 1525. "The Bokb of Comfort, called in Latin Boecius de 
Con9olatione Philosopkie, Emprented In the exempt monastery of 
Tavestock in Denshyre, by me Dan Thomas Rychard monke of the 
sayd monastry. To the instant desyre of the right worshipful! esquyre 
magister Robert Langdon. Anno Domini, mdxxv. JDeo gracias" In 
octave rhyme^. This translation was made at the request of Elisabeth 
Berkeley. I forbear to load these pages with specimens not original, 
and which appear to have contributed no degree of improvement to our 
poetry or our phraseology. Henry the Fourth died in the year 1418. 

The coronation of king Henry the Fifth was celebrated in West- 
minster-hall with a solemnity proportioned to the lustre of those great 
achievements which afterwards distinguished the annab of that victo- 
rious monarch. By way of preserving order, and to add to the s()len- 
dour of the spectacle, many of the nobility were ranged along the sidea 
of the tables on large war-horses, at this stately festival ; which, says 
my chronicle, was a second feast of Ahasuerus'. But I mention this 
ceremony, to introduce a circumstance very pertinent to our purpose ; 
which is, that the number of harpers in the hall was innumerable", who 
undoubtedly accompanied their instruments with heroic rhymes. The 
king, however, was no great encourager of the popular minstrelsy, 
which seems at this time to have flourished in the highest degree of 
perfection. When he entered the .city of London in triumph after the 
battle of Agincourt, the gates and streets were hung with tapestry, re- 
presenting the histories of ancient heroes; and children were placed in 

1 Wood, Hist Andq. Univ. Oxon. ii. CoWili or Coldewell, bred At Oxford, witb 

p. 184. Leland, Script Brit Chaundlb- the Latin, "according fo the boke of the 

RUB. translatour, which was a very old printe." 

"* MSS. Harl. 43. 1. And MSS. ColL Dedicated to queen Mary, and printed by 

Trin. Oxon. 75. John Cawood, 1556. 4to. Reprinted 1560. 

^ MSS. HarL 44. chart et pergam. 4to. 

<* MSS. i. 68. ' Thoroae de Elniham Vit et Oest 

* MSS. B. 5. He bequeathed his Bi- Henr. V. edit. Hearne, Oxon. 1727. cap. 

hUtTt and other books, to this library. xii. p. 23. Compare LeL Coll. Append, iii. 

^ This is among Rawlinson's Codd. im- 226. edit 1 770. 

press. Bibl. Bodl. There is an English * Elmham, ubi supr. p. 23. 
translation of Boethius by one George 


artificial turrets, singing verses'. But Henry, disgusted at these secular 
vanities, commanded by a formal edict, that for the future no songs 
should be recited by the harpers, or others, in praise of the recent vic- 
tory ^ This prohibition had no other effect than that of displayipg 
Henry's humility, perhaps its principal and real design. Among many 
others, a minstrel-piece soon appeared, evidently adapted to the harp, 
on the S£YQB of Harflett and the Battallyb of Agynkourte. 
It was written about the year 1417. These are some of the most spi- 
rited lines. 

Sent Jorge before our kyng they dyd se**. 

They trompyd up full meryly. 

The grete battell to-gederes ^ed^ ; 

Our archorys'' theiy schot ful hartely. 

They made the Frenche men faste to blede, 

Her arowys they went with full good spede. 

Oure enemyes with them they gan downe throwe 

Thorow bresteplats, habourgenys, and basnets''. 

XI.M.' was slayne on a rew^. 

Denters of dethe men my3t well deme. 

So fercelly in fellde theye gan fythe*. 

The heve upon here helmys schene* 

With axeys and with swerdys bryjt- 

When oure arowys were at a fly^t^ 

Amon the Frenche men was a wel sory sobered 

Ther was to bring of gold bokylyd* so bryjt 

That a man my^t holde a strong armoure. 

Owre gracyus kyng men myjt knowe 

That day fo^t with hys owene bond, 

The erlys was dyscomwityd up on a rowe®* 

That he had slayne understond. 

He there schevyd ' oure other lordys of thya lond, 

Forsothe that was a ful fayre daye. 

Therefore all England maye tliis syng 

Laws* dec we may well saye. 

The Duke of Glocetor, that nys no nay, 

That day full wordely^ he wrojt. 

On ewry side he made goode waye, 

• Elmham, ubi supr. cap. xxxi. p. 72. * breast-platc.^i habergeons and heU 

* ''Cantus de soo triumpho fieri, sea mets. 

per CiTHARisTAS, vel alios quoocunque, ^ row. ■ fight. 

Cantari, penitua prohibebat." Ibid. p. . * " They struck upon their bright hel- 

72. And Heamii Praefat p. xxix. seq. mets." 

§ viii. See also HoIIingsh. Chron. iii. '' flying. * much distress, 

p. 656. col. 1. 40. * buckled. 

■ " The French saw the standard of • I believe it is " The earls he had 

Saint George before our king." slain were all thrown together on a heap 

This is Milton's " Together rush'd or in a row;" [discomfited ? 1 

both battles main." ' showed. 

^ archers. _ » Unu. »» worthily. 

VOL. ir. s 


The Frenche men faste to grond they brow^t 
The erle of Hontyngton sparjd no^t, 
The erle of Oxynforthe^ layd on all soo^ 
The young erle of Devynschyre he ne rou^t. 
The Frenche men fast to grunde gan goo. 
Our Englismen thei were foul seker do 
And ferce to fy^t as any lyone. 
Basnetifl bryzt they crasyd a to ^ 
And bet the French banerys adoune ; 
As thonder-strokys ther was a scownde™, 
Of axys and sperys ther they gan glyd. . 
The lordys of Franyse" lost her renowne 
With gresoly** wondys they gan abyde. 
The Frensche men, for all here pryde, 
They fell downe all at a flyjt : 
Je me rende they cryde, on every syde, 
Our Englys men they understod no^t ary^tP. 
Their pollaxis owt of her hondys they twyjt, 
And layde ham along stryte^ upon Uie grasse* 
They sparyd nother deuke, erlle, ne kny^t.' 

These verses are much less intelligible than some of Gower's and 
Chaucer's pieces, which were written fifty years before. In the mean 
time we must not mistake provincial for national barbarisms. Every 
piece now written is by no means a proof of the actual state of style. 
The improved dialect, which yet is the estimate of a language, was con- 
fined only to a few writers, who lived more in the world and in polite 
life ; and it was long before a general change in the public phraseo- 
logy was effected. Nor must we expect among the minstrels, who were 
equally careless and illiterate, those refinements of diction, which mark 
the compositions of men who professedly studied to embellish the En- 
glish idiom. 

Thomas Occleve is the first poet that occurs in the reign of Henry 
the Fifth. I place him about the year 1420. Occleve is a feeWe writer, 
considered as a poet : and his chief merit seems to be, that his writings 
contributed to propagate and establish those improvements in our lan- 
guage which were now beginning to take place. He was educated in 
the municipal law ', as were both Chaucer and Gower ; and it reflects 

I Oxford. sapr. Append, p. 359. Num. vv See p. 

k also. 37-1. seq. There is The Battatlb of 

1 "They broke the bright helmets in Egyncourte, Libr. impress. Bibl. BodJ. 

two." C. 39. 4to. art. Selden. See Obaervat. on 

°* sound. Spens. ii. 41. Dr. Percy has printed an 

" France. ^ griesly. ancient ballad on this subject, Anc Ball. 

P "they did not rightly." vol. ii. p. 24. edit. 1767. See Hearne*s 

^ straight. Praeiat. ut supr. p. xxx. 

' Printed [from MSS. Cotton. Vitell. * He studied in Chestres-inn where So- 

D. XII. 1 1. fol. 214. which was burnt in the roerset-house now stands. See Buck; D€ 

fire of 1731.] by Hearne, Elraham, ut tertia Anglia Jcademiaf CAp, xxy. 


no small degree of honour on that very liberal profession, that its stu- 
dents were some of the first who attempted to polish and adorn the 
English tongue. 

The titles of Occleve's pieces, very few of which have been ever 
printed, indicate a coldness of genius ; and on the whole promise no 
gratification to those who seek for invention and fancy. Such as, The 
iak ofJonathas and of a wicked toamanK Fabie of a certain emperess^^ 
A prologue of the nine lessons that is read over AUkatow-day'^. The 
most profitable and holsomest crafi that is to cunne^, to leme to dye''. 
Consolation offered by an old manK Pentastiocon to the king. Mercy 
as defined by Saint Austin. Dialogue to a friend *. Dialogue between 
Occkef and a beggar^. The letter of Ciqnd^. Verses to an empty 
purse\ But Occleve's most considerable poem is a piece called a trans- 
lation of Egidius De Regimine Principum *. 

This is a sort of paraphrase of the first part of Aristotle's epistle to 
Alexander above-mentioned, entitled Secretum Secrbtorum, of 
Egidius, and of Jacobus de Casulis, whom he calls Jacob de Cassolis. 
Egidius, a native of Rome, a pupil of Thomas Aquinas, eminent among 
the schoolmen by the name of Doctor Fundatissimus, and an arch- 
bishop, flourished about the year 1280. He wrote a Latin tract in 
three books, Ds Regimine Principum, or the Art of Government, 
for the use of Philip le Hardi, son of Louis king of France, a work 
highly esteemed in the middle ages, and translated early into Hebrew^ 
French % and Spanish. In those days ecclesiastics and schoolmen pre- 
sumed to dictate to kings, and to give rules for administering states, 
drawn from the narrow circle of speculation, and conceived amid the 
pedantries of a cloister. It was probably recommended to Occleve's 

< Ubi infr. Bibl. Bodl. MSS. From the in the editions of Chaucer. But the 

Gesta Romanorum* former appears to be Chaucer's, from the 

" BibL BodLMSS. Seld. supr. 53. Digb. twenty additional stanzas not printed in 

185. Laud. K. 78. MSS. Reg. Brit. Mus. Urry's Chaucer, page 549. MSS. Hari. 

17 D. vi. 2. This story seems to be also 2251. 133. fol. 298. 

taken from the Gesta Roroanorum. Pr. * [From the " Boke of Curtesye " or 

" In the Roman actyb writyn." " Lytyll John:" printed by Caxton, and 

• Ubi supr. Bibl. Bodl. MSS. attributed to Chaucer by Urry. 

^ MsTBodl. utsupr. And MSS. Reg. ^^^'^^^ ^*^«^ [Occleve] in his transla- 

Brit Mu«. 17 D. vi. 3. 4. The best nia> , ^^a^\ a 

nuscript of Occleve. '" ^"^^^ ^*"«'8C and sentence passyng 

■ MSS. Digb, 185. More [Cant.] 427. „ ""J^' .. i,; • u u » 

• MSS. Seld. ut supr. "^*' *** ^^^^^^ ^^^ P""*^® ****^'** exhorta- 
^ MSS Harl 4826 6 cyon 

• MSs! Digh. 181." MSS. Arch. Bodl. ^J,*^ ^^? **y*»^ ^« *^^"^^ ^'^^^ ^^^yf : 
Seld. B. 24. It is printed in Chaucer's ^f trouthe, pees, [peace] mercy and jus- 
Works, Urr. p. 534. Bale [MS. Glynne] . , "ff* i *• r i .i. 
mention, oneor two more pieces, particu- And virtues leeting for noslouthe, 

lariy De Theseo AUienunsi, lib. i. Pr. ^"^ ^^ ^If ITI' ^"^ "^^y*" ^^''' °^ '"' 

'* Tum esset, ut veteres historias tradunt." ''®^"* '^^"'^•J 

This is the beginning of Chaucer's * Wolf. Biblioth. Hebr. torn. iii. p. 1206. 

Knight's Tale. And there are other It was translated into French by Henry dc 

pieces in the libraries. Gand, at the command of Philip king of 

' Thif, and the Penfastichon ad Itegentf France. Mem. dc Lit torn. xvii. p. 733. 

are in MSS. Fairf. xvi. Bibl. Bodl. And 4to. 



notice, by having been translated into English by John Trevisa, a cele- 
brated translator about tl|e year 1390'. The original was printed at 
Rome in 1482, and at Venice HQS, and, I think, again at the same 
place in 1598\ The Spanish translation was printed at Seville, io 
folio, 1494, <*Tran8lad6 de Latin en Romance Don Bernardo Obispo 
de Osma: impresso por Meynardo (Jngut Alemano etStanislao Polono 
companeros/* The printed copies of the Latin are very rare, but the 
manuscripts innumerable. A third part of the third book, which treats 
De Re MUilari Veterumy was printed by Hahnios in 1722'* One of 
Egidius's books, a commentary on Aristotle de Anima, is dedicated to 
our Edward the First''. 

Jacobus de Casulis, or of Casali in Italy, another of the writers co- 
pied in this performance by our poet Occleve, a French Dominican 
friar, about the year 1290, wrote in four parts a Latin treatise on chess, 
jor, as it is entitled in some manuscripts, Zh fhoribus hominum et de 
qfficits nobiUum super Ludo Latrunc(;ix)RUM sive Scaccorum. In a 
parchment manuscript of the Harleian library, neatly illuminated, it is 
thus entitled : Liber Moralis de Ludo Scaccorum, ad honorem ei 
solacium NohUium etmaxime ludencium^ perfiratrem Jacobum ds Cas* 
suLis ardinis PrcUrum Prcedicatorum, At the conclusion, this work 
appears to be a translation ^ Fits carelessly gives it to Robert 
Holcot, a celebrated English theologist, perhaps for no other reason 
than because Holcot was likewise a Dominican. It was printed at Milan 
in 1479. I believe it was as great a favourite as Egidius on Govern- 
ment, for it was translated into French by John Ferron, and John Du 
Vignay, a monk hospitaler of Saint James du Haut-page ■°, under the 
patronage of Jeanne duchess of Bourgogne, Caxton's patroness*, about 
the year 1S60, with the title of Le Jeu des Echecs moralise^ or Le 
traite dee Nobles et de Gens du Peuple selon le Jeu des Echecs. This 
was afterwards translated by Caxton in 1474, who did not know that the 
French was a translation from the Latin, and called the Game of the 
Chess. It wasabo translated into German, both prose and ver8e> by 

' Btbl Bodl. MSS. Digb. 233. PHneip, lier, EstaU de Litteraiurey torn. i. p. 198. 

*' To his special, [etc] politik sentence that seq. and of the Venetian edition in 1498, 

is." In this manuscript there is an elegant in Theophilus Sincerus De Lihru Hariorib* 

picture of a monk, or ecclesiastic, present* tom. i. p. 82. seq. 
ing a book to a king. See supr. p. 128. ^ Cave, p. 755. edit. 1688. 

jiote*, 1 MSS. Harl. 1275. 1. 4to. membran. 

1^ All in folio. Those of 1482, and 1598, " Who also translated the Golden 
are in the Bodleian library. In All-Souls Legend of James de Voragine, and the 
college library at Oxford, there is a manu- Speculum Historiale of Vincent of Beau- 
script Tabula in Agidium de Regimine vais. Vie de Petr. tom. iii. p. 548. And 
Principum, by one Thomas Abyndon. Mem, Lit. xvii. 742. 746. 747. edit. 
MSS. G. i. 5. 4to. 

1 In the first tome of Co/fec/fo Afon«- • [According to Herbert, Margaret sister 

mtntorum veterum ei reeentium ineditorum : of King Edward IV., who married Charles 

e Codice MS. in Bibliotheca Obrecktina. duke of Burgundy, was the patroness of 

The curious reader may see a full account Caxton. MS. note, — Park.] 
ofiEgidius DeRegimine Principum in Mor- 

S«CT. XX.] 



Conrade von Almenhusen^ Bale absurdly supposes that Occleve made 
a separate and regular translation of this work^. 

Occleve's poem was never printed. This is a part of the Pro-/ 

Aristotle, most famous philosofre**. 

His epbUes to Alisaunder sent^i; 

Whos sentence is wel bet than golde in cofre, 

And more holsum, grounded in trewe entent. 

Fore all that ever [tho Epistles ^] ment, 

To sette [was*] this worthi conqueroure, 

In rewle howe to susteyne his honoure, 

The tender love, and the fervent [chiertie"], 
That [this^] worthi derke aye to this king here, 

" See Jacob. Quetifl torn. L p. 471. ii. 
p. 818. Lambecc. torn. ii. Bibl. Vindob. 
p. 848. One Simon Aylward,an English- 
man, about the year 1456, wrote a Latin 
poem De Ludo Scace&rum, Pits. Append, 
p. 909. Princip. " Ludus scaccorum datur 
hie correctio morum/' [This is a mistake, 
copied by Tanner, and all the chess bi- 
bliographical writers. Simon Aylward is 
merely the scribe of a copy of Jacobus de 
Cassolis, which is preserved in Magdalen 
college library, Oxford, No. 12., and at the 
end he adds four lines in verse, ** Ludus 
scaccorum," &c, and the date 1456.<^M.] 

** Bale in Occleve. 

• [The present text has received some 
emendations from the Harleianand King's 
MSS. The new readings are printed with- 
in brackets, and those rejected are given 
below. — PaiCE.1 

' The learned doctor Gerard Langbaine, 
speaking of the Regimine Principum by 
Occleve, says that it Is *' collected out of 
Aristotle, Alexander, and JSgidius on the 
same, and Jacobus de Cassolis (a fryar 
preacher) his book of chess, viz. that part 
where he speaks of the king's draught," 
&C. Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Langb. Cod. xv. 
page 102. 

[The author of the Account of the En- 
glish Dramatic Poets, was Gerard the son 
of doctor Langbaine, provost of Queen*s 
college, Oxford. This book was first pub- 
lished under the title of Momus Trium- 
phans, Lond. 1687.^4to. Five hundred 
copies were quickly sold ; but the reihainder 
of the impression appeared the next year 
with a new title,^^ new Catalogue of En- 
glish PlaySt containing comedies, &c. Lond. 

1 688. 4to. The author at length digested 
his work anew with great accessions and 
improvements, which he entitled as above, 
An Account of the English Dramatic Poets, 
&c. Oxon. 1691. 8vo. This book, a good 
ground- work for a new publication on the 
same subject and plan, and which has me- 
rit as being the first attempt of the kind, 
was reprinted' by Curl, with flimsy addi- 
tions, under the conduct of Giles Jacob, a 
hero of the Dunciad, Lond. 1719. 8vo. 
Our author, after a classical education, 
was first placed with a bookseller in Lon- 
don ; but at sixteen years of age, in 1672, 
he became a gentleman commoner of Uni- 
versity cbllege in Oxford. His literature 
chiefly consisted in a -knowledge of the 
novels and plays of various languages ; 
and he was a constant and critical attend- 
ant of the play-houses for many years. 
Retiring to Oxford in the year 1690, he 
died the next year; having amassed a 
collection of more than a thousand print- 
ed plays, masques, and interludes. — Addi- 

[In the same Langbaine UlS. cited 
above, the following lines occur : 

" Tho. Occleve, in dialogo ad amicos. 
With plow can I not medle, ne with 

Ne wot nat w* lond is good for what 

And for to lade a cart or fill a barrow. 
To which 1 never used was to fome, 
My bok unbuxom all such swink hath 

forswome." — ^Park.] 

^ See supr. p. 231. et infra. 

> the Epistle. 

' good chere. 

< the. 


[Trustyug^] sore his welth durable to be. 

Unto his hert [stak^] and sate so nere. 

That bi writing his counsel gaf he dere 

Unto his lord to [kepe^] him from mischaunce. 

As witnesseth his Boke of Governaunce', 

Of which, and of Giles [of^] Regiment' 

Of prince's plotmele, think I to translete, &c. 

My dere mayster, god his soul quite S 

And fader Chaucer fayne would have me taught. 

But I was dule ", and learned ly te or naught. 

Alas my worthie maister honorable, 
This londis verray tresour and richesse, 
Deth by thy deth hathe harme irreparable 
Unto us done : [hir^] vengeable duresse" 
Dispoiled bath this lond of the sweetnesse 
Of rhetoryke, for unto Tullius 
Was never man so like amongest us. 

[Also*®] who was [heir*'] in phylosophy 

To Aristotle in owre tonge but thow ? 

The steppis of Virgile in poesie 

Thou suedest' eke: men knowd well inowe 

That combre-world* that [the*^] my mayster, slowc*'; 

Wold I slaine were I Deth was too hastife 

To renne on thee, and reve thee of thy life : 

She might have tarried her vengeaunce awhile 
To that some man had egal to thee be: 
Nay, let that be: she knew well that thisble 
May never man forth bryng like unto thee, 
And her oflis nedis do mote she; 
God bade her so, I trust for all the best, 
O mayster, mayster, god thy sould rest I 

In another part of the Prologue we have these pathetic lines, which 
seem to flow warm from the heart, to the memory of the immortal 

' Aristotle's Secretam Secretorum. world: fruges conBumerena^.'* But even 

iEgiditis De Regimine Principum. the faulty reading of the Oxford MS. 

aquitt; save. " dull. 

Men knowe well inowe 

' S**^**?; A .u.u ^ ^i^^'^^'^f.i. That combre-world that thou [death] my 

•He calls death the encum6ra««» of the mayster slowe, 

world. The expression seems to be taken •' 

from Chaucer, where Troilus says of him- could not justify such an interpretation, 

self," I rom^e-worU, that maic of nothing Combre-world in either version muat be 

serve." Tr. Cress, p. 307. v. 279. Urr. taken substantively, and as such can only 

edit. [" Ridiculous!" exclaims Mr. Rit- be applied to death. — Price.] 

son. " It is the Men who encumber the * slew. 

* thrusting. ® slab. ' hope. ' his. ' his- 

»" Alab! " here. « thou. 


Chaucer> who I believe was rather Occleve s model than his master, or 
perhaps the patron and encourager of his studies. 

But weleawaye, so is myne hertd wo 

That the honour of English tonge is dede, 

Of which I wont was han counsel and rede I 

O mayster dere, and fadir reverent, 

My mayster Chaucer, floure of eloquence, 

Mirrour of fructuous entendement, 

O universal fadir in science, 

Alas that thou thine excellent prudence 

In thy bed mortel mightest not bequethe, 

What eyled*= Deth? Alas, why would he sle the I 

O Deth that didist nought harm singulere 

In slaughtre of him, but all the lond it smertith : 

But nathelesse yit hastowe** no powere 

His name to sle. His hie vertue astertith 

Unslayn from thee, which aye us lifely hertith 

With boke[s] of his ornatd enditing, 

That is to all this lond enlumyning.* 

Occleve seems to have written some of these verses immediately on 
Chaucer's death, and to have introduced them long afterwards into this 

It is in one of the royal manuscripts of this poem in the British 
Museum that Occleve has left a drawing of Chaucer^: according to 
which, Chaucer's portraiture was made on his monument, in the chapel 
of Saint Blase in Westminster-abbey, by the benefaction of Nicholas 
Brigham, in the year 1556^. And from this drawing, in 1598, John 
Speed procured the print of Chaucer prefixed to Speght's edition of his 
"Works ; which has been since copied in a most finished engraving by 
Vertue^. Yet it must be remembered, that the same drawing occurs 
in an Harleian manuscript written about Occleve's age^, and in an- 
other of the Cottonian department^. Occleve himself mentions this 

*^ ailed. Ritson in his Bibl. Poet, enumerates seven- 

* hast thou. teen pieces of Occleve contained in a MS. 

* MSS. Rawlins. 647. fol. This poem once belonging to Dr. Askew, but which 
has at the end "Explicit iEgidius de afterwardsbecame the property of Mr. Ma- 
Regimine Principum " in MSS. Laud. son. From this MS. he adds : ** Six of 
K. 78. Bibl. Bodl. See also ibid. MSS. peculiar stupidity were selected and pub- 
Selden. Supr. 53. Digb. 185. MSS. lished by its late owner, in 1796. 4to." 
Ashmol. 40. MSS. Reg. 17 D. vi. 1. 17 D. —Price.] 

xviii. MSS. Harl. 4826. 7. and 4866. In ' MSS. Reg. 17 D. vi. 1. 

some of these a sort of dialogue is prefixed " He was of Caversham in Oxfordshire. 

between a father and a son. Occleve, in Educated at Hart- Hall in Oxford, and 

the Prologue cited in the text, mentions studied the law. He died at Westminster, 

Jacobus de Cassolis [Casulis] as one of 1559. 

his authors. [This passage forms a part ^ In Urry's edit 1721. fol. 

of the " Dialogus inter Occlyf et mendi- * MSS. Harl. 4866. The drawing is 

cum,*' and which in the Museum MSS. at fol. 91. 

precedes the translation of ^gidius. — Mr. ^ MSS. Cotton. Oth. A. 18. 


drawing in his Consolatio Sbrvilis. It exactly resembles the cu- 
rious picture on board of our venerable bard, preserved in the Bodleian 
gallery at Oxford. I have a very old picture of Chaucer on board, much 
like Occleve*s, formerly kept in Chaucer's house, a quadrangular stone- 
mansion, at Woodi^tock in Oxfordshire; which commanded a* prospect 
of the ancient magnificent royal palace, and of many beautiful scenes 
in the adjacent park ; and whose last remains, chiefly consisting of 
what was called Chaucer's bed-chamber, with an old carved oaken roof, 
evidently original, were demolished about fifteen years ago. Among 
the ruins they found an ancient gold coin of the city of Florence ^ 
Before the grand rebellion, there was in the windows of the church of 
Woodstock, an escucheon in painted glass of the arms of Sir Payne 
Rouet, a knight of Henault, whose daughter Chaucer married* 

Occleve, in this poem, and in others, often celebrates Humphrey 
duke of Glocester™; who at the dawn of science was a singidar pro- 
moter of literature, and, however unqualified for political intrigues, the 
common patron of the scholars of the times. A sketch of his charac- 
ter in that view, is therefore too closely connected with our subject to 
be censured as an unnecessary digression. About the year 1440, he 
gave to the University of Oxford a library containing six hundred vo- 
lumes, only one hundred and twenty of which were valued at more than 
one thousand pounds. These books are called Novi Tractatus^ or New 
Treatises, in the university-register°, and said to be admirandi appa^ 
rcttus^ They were the most splendid and costly copies that could be 
procured, finely written on vellum, and elegantly embellished with mi- 
niatures and illuminations. Among the rest was a translation into French 
of Ovid's Metamorphoses P. Only a single specimen of these valuable 
volumes was suffered to remain : it b a beautiful manuscript in folio of 
Valerius Maximus, enriched with the most elegant decorations, and 
written in Duke Humphrey's age, evidently with a design of being 
placed in this sumptuous collection. All the rest of the books, which, 
like this, being highly ornamented, looked like missals, and conveyed 
ideas of popish superstition, were destroyed or removed by the pious 
visitors of the University in the reign of £dward the Sixth, whose zeal 
was equalled only by their ignorance, or perhaps by their avarice. A 
great number of classics, in this grand work of reformation, were con- 
demned as antichristian^. In the library of Oriel college at Oxford, 
we find a manuscript Commentary on Genms^ written by John Cap- 
grave*, a monk of Saint Austin's monastery at Canterbury, a learned 

I I think a Florein, anciently Common ^ As be does John of Gaunt, 

in England. Chaucer, Pardon. Tale, ° Reg. F. fol. 52. 53 b. Epist. 142. 

V. 2290. p. 135. col. 2. " For that the "^ Ibid. fol. 57 b. 60 a. Epist. 148. 

Florains ben so faire and bright.*' Ed- ' Leland, Coll. iii. p. 58. edit. 1770. 

ward the Third, in 1344, altered it from * Some however had been before stolen 

a lower value to 6«. 8(f. The particular or mutilated. Leland, Coll. iii. p. 58. edit 

piece I have mentioned seems about that 1770. 

value. * [By favour of Mr. Bliss of the Bod- 



theologist of the fourteenth century. It is the author's autograph, and 
the work is dedicated to Humphrey duke of Glocester. In the superb 
initial letter of the dedicatory epistle is a curious illumination of the 
author Capgrave, humbly presenting his book to his patron the duke, 
who is seated, and covered with a sort of hat At the end is this entry, 
in the hand-writing of duke Humphrey : *^ Cest livre est a moy Hum- 
frey due de Gloucestre du dan defrere Jehan Cappravef qwy U mefiu 
presenter a man memayr de Pensherst lejaur . . • de Fan, mcccxxxviii V 
This is one of the books which Humphrey gave to his new library at 
Oxford, destroyed or dispersed by the active reformers of the young 
Edwards John Whethamstede^ a learned abbot of Saint Alban's, and 
a lover of scholars, but accused by his monks for neglecting their affairs, 
while he was too deeply engaged in studious employments and in pro- 
curing transcripts of useful books S notwithstanding his unwearied assi- 

leian library I am enabled to add, that 
Capgrave appears from one of the Raw- 
linson MSS., No. 118, to have been^ a 
considerable maker of verse, and the 
translator of a life of St. Catherine, writ- 
ten by Athanasius in Greek, rendered 
from that language into Latin by a priest 
named Arreck, and finally into English 
verse by Capgrave. Prefixed is an account 
of the work written by Sir Henry Spel- 
man, in whose possession probably the 
volume once was, and of whom it deserves 
therefore to be remembered that he had 
stored up the production of a poet of the 
fourteenth century, at a time when the 
scattered remains of our poetical writers 
were more than commonly neglected. His 
description of the nature of the poem and 
of its authors it may be desirable to give : 
** A preiste, which this author, Jo. Cap- 
grave, nameth Arreck, having hearde 
much of St. Katherin, bestowed 18 yeares 
to searche out her life ; and, for that pur- 
pose, spen^ 12 of them in Greece. At last, 
t>y direction of a vision in the days of 
Peter K. of Cyprus and Pope Urban 
V. he digged up in Cyprus an old booke 
of that very matter, written by Athanasius 
byshop of Alexandria (but whether he 
that made the Creede or not the author 
doubteth) and hidden there 100 yeares 
before by Amylon Fit2 Amarack. Then 
did this Arreck compile her story into 
Latyn, saithe this author. 

For out of Greek he hath it first runge 
This holy lyfe into the Latyn tounge. 

And then also did he make it into English 
verse ; but leaving it unperfected, and in 
obscure rude English, Capgrave not only 
enlarged it, but refyned it to the phrase 
of his tyme, ashimselfe testify ethe, speak- 
ing of the preist to St. Katherin : 

He made thy life in English tounge full 

But yet he died or he had fblly doo, 
And that he made, it is ful harde therto 
Right for strangnesse of his dark language. 
He is now dead ; thou hast give him his 

Now wil I, lady, more openly make thy 

Out of his worke yf thou wilt helpe therto. 

This preiste, as Capgrave also showetb* 
died at Lynn, many yeares. before his 
tyme, where Capgrave was a regular : for 
he saithe in his Prologue, 

Yf ye wil wite what that I am. 

My country is Norfolk, of the towne of 

Out of the world, to my profit I cam. 
Unto the brotherhood which I am in. 
God send me grace never to blynn 
To follow the steps of my faders before, 
Which to the rule of Austen were swore," 

These may afford sufficient specimens 
of the poet's style : of the subject chosen 
no notice can be required. — Park.] 

' Cod. MSS. 32. 

' He gave also Capgrave super Exodum 
et Regum Libros. Registr. Univ. Oxon. 
F. fol. 67 b. 

' Supra, vol. i. See Dissertat i. We 
are told in this abbot's Gesta, that soon 
after his instalment he built a library for 
his abbey, a design which had long em- 
ployed his contemplation. He covered it 
with lead ; and expended on the bare walls, 
besides desks, glazing, and embattelling, 
or, to use the expressions of my chronolo- 
ger, deducta vitrituHonet crestaeioMf pati" 
tione descorum, upwards of one hundred 
and twenty pounds. Apud Hearne's Ot- 
terbourne, vol. i. Pnefat. Append, p. cxxiil. 


duity in beautifying and enriching their monastery", was in high favour 
with this munificent prince'. The duke was fond of visiting this mo- 
nastery, and employed abbot Whethamstede to collect valuable books 
for him 7. Some of Whethamstede's tracts, manuscript copies of which 
often occur in our libraries, are dedicated to the duke" ; who presented 
many of them, particularly a fine copy of Whethamstede's Granarium*, 
an immense work, which Leland calls ingens vobumen^ to the new library \ 
The copy of Valerius Maximus, which I mentioned before, has a curi- 
ous table or inde^ made by Whethamstede <^. Many other abbots paid 
their court to the duke by sending him presents of books, whose mar- 
gins were adorned with the most exquisite paintings^. Gilbert Kymer, 
physician to King Henry the Sixth, among other ecclesiastic promotions, 
dean of Salisbury, and chancellor of the University of Oxford% inscribed 
to duke Humphrey his famous medical system Diaetarium de samtatis 
custodioj in the year 1424 ^ I do not mean to anticipate when I remark, 
that Lydgate, a poet mentioned hereafter, translated Boccacio's book 
De Casibus virorum illustrium at the recommendation and com- 
mand, and under the protection and superintendence, of duke Humphrey ; 
whose condescension in conversing with learned ecclesiastics, and dili- 
gence in study, the translator displays at large, and in the strongest ex- 
pressions of panegyric. He compares the duke to Julius Caesar, who 
amidst the weightiest cares of state, was not ashamed to enter the rhe- 

ed. Ozon. 1732. [Hearne in the place ings were innumerable ; and the Master 
quoted has, " ultra sumroi centu qi. q*ginta of the Works was of his inatitution, with 
librar." — Ritson.] He founded also a li- an ample salary. Ibid. p.. cziiL 
brary for all the students of his monastery ' Leland, Script Brit p. 437. 
at Oxford. Ibid. p.cziii. And to each of ^ Leland, ibid. p. 432. 442. See also 
these students he allowed an annual pen- Hollinsh. Chron. f. 488 b. And f. 1234. 
sion, at his own expense, of thirteen shil- 1235. 1080. 868. 662. Weever Fun. Mon. 
lings and four-pence. Ibid. p. cxviii. See p. 562. 574. Whethamstede erected in bis 
also p. cxxix. A grand transcript of the life-time the beautiful tabernacle or shrine 
Postilla of Nicholas de Lyra on the Bible of stone, now remaining, over the tomb of 
was begun during his abbacy, and at his duke Humphrey in St Alban*s abbey 
command, with the most splendid orna- church. Heame's Otterb. ut supr. p. czzi. 
ments and hand- writing. The monk, who seq. See also ibid. p. cxvi. cxix. 
records this important anecdote, lived soon * See Whethamstede, De viri* iUuttri- 
after him, and speaks of this great under- &tw, Brit Mus. MSS. Cotton. Tiber. D. vi. i. 
taking, then unfinished, as if it was some 0th. B. iv. And Hearne, Pref. Pet Lang- 
magnificent public edifice. *' God grant," toft. p. xix. seq. 
says he, " that this work in our days may * Registr. Univ. Oxon. F. £ 68. 
receive a happy consummation ! " Ibid. ^ Leland, ubi modo infr. 
p. cxvi. ° MSS. Bodl. NE. vii. ii. 

** Among other things, he expended ^ " MuUos codices, pulcherrime pictos, 

forty pounds in adorning the roof and ab abbatibus dono accepit*' The Duke 

walls of the virgin Mary's chapel with wrote in the frontispieces of his books, 

pictures. Gest ut supr. p. ex. He gave Moun bien mondain. Leland, Coll. iii. 

to the choir of the church an organ ; than p. 58. edit ut supr. 

which, says my chronicler, there was not * By the recommendatory letters of 

one to be found in any monastery in En- duke Humphrey. Registr. Univ. Ozon. 

gland, more beautiful in appearance, more F. fol. 75. Epist 180. 

pleasing for its harmony, or more curious ' See Hearne's Append, ad Libr. Nigr. 

in its construction. It cost upwards of fifty Scaccar. p. 550. And Prsefat p. 34. 
pounds. Ibid. p. cxxviii. His new build- 


torical school of Cicero at Rome'. Nor was his patronage confined 
only to English scholars. His favour was solicited by the most cele- 
brated writers of France and Italy, many of whom he bountifully re- 
warded '^. Leonard Aretine, one of the first restorers of the Greek tongue 
in Italy, which he learned of Emanuel Chrysoloras, and of polite litera- 
ture in general, dedicates to thb universal patron his elegant Latin trans- 
lation of Aristotle's Politics. The copy presented to the duke by the 
translator, most elegantly illuminated, is now in the Bodleian library at 
Oxford*. To the same noble encourager of learning, Petrus Candid us, 
the friend of Laurentius Valla, and secretary to the great Cosmo duke 
of Milan, inscribed, by the advice of the archbishop of Milan, a Latin 
version of Plato's Republic^. An illuminated manuscript of this trans- 
lation is in the British Museum, perhaps the copy presented, with two 
epistles prefixed, from the duke to Petrus Candidus^. Petrus de Monte, 
another learned Italian, of Venice, in the dedication of his treatise D£ 
ViRTUTUM ET ViTiORUM DiFFEREMTTA to the dukc of Gloccster, men- 
tions the latter 8 ardent attachment to books of all kinds, and the singu- 
lar avidity with which he pursued every species of literature"^. A tract, 
entitled Comparatio Studiorum et Rei Militaris, written by La- 
pus de Castellione, a Florentine civilian, and a great translator into Latin 
of the Greek classics, is also inscribed to the duke, at the desire of Zeno 
archbishop of Bayeux. I must not forget, that our illustrious duke in- 
vited into England the learned Italian, Tito Livio of Foro-Juli, whom 
he naturalised, and constituted his poet and orator ''. Humphrey also 
retained learned foreigners in his service, for the purpose of transcri- 
bing, and of translating from Greek into Latin. One of these was An- 
tonio de Beccaria, a Veronese, a translator into Latin prose of the Greek 
poem of Dionysius Afer De Situ Orbis® ; whom the duke employed 

" Prol. Sign. A. ii. A. iii. edit. Wayland, MSS. ibid. 5. fol 6. See also ibid. 131. 

ut sopr. He adds, fol. 279 b. of tha duke's marriage. 

^ Leland, Script p. 442. 

And hath joye with clarkes to commune, * See MSS. Bodi. D. i. 8. 10. And Le- 

And no man .is more expert in langage, land. Script, p. 443. 

Stable in study.— ^ Leiand, Script, p. 442. and Mos. Ash- 

His courage never dothe appall mol. 789 f. 54. 56. where are also two of 

To study in bokes of antiquitie. — the duke's epistles to Petrus Candidus. 

He studieth ever to have intelligence, > P. Candidi Decembris, Dud Medio- 

Readyng of bokes. — lani a secretis, Translatio PoLiTiiE Pla- 

And with support of his magnificence, tonis, — ad Humfredum Gloucestrie Du- 

Under the wings of his protection, — cem, &c. Cui prsefiguntur duie Epistoln 

I shall proceed in this translation — Duels Olocestrias ad P. Candidum. Most 

Lowly submittyng, every houre and space, elegantly written. Membran. ad fin. '* Cest 

My rude langage to my lordes grace. livre est a moy Humfrey Due de Glocestre 

du don P. Candidus secretaire du due de 

See also fol. xxxviii. b. col. 2. Lydgate Mylan.'* Catal.MSS. Angl.tom.ii.p.212. 

has an epitaph on the duke, MSS. Ash- Num. 6858. [See MSS. Hari. 1705. fol.] 

mol. 59. 2. MSS. Harl. 2251. 6. fol. 7. "^ MSS. Norwic. More. 257. Bibl. publ. 

There is a curious letter of Lydgate, in Cantabrig. 

which he sends for a supply of money to ■ Author of the Viia Henrici qninii, 

the duke, while he was translating Bo- printed by Hearne, Oxon. 1716. And of 

CHAS. ** Litteradom. Joh. Lydgate missa other pieces. See Hollinsh. iii. 585. 

ad duccm Glocestrie in tempore translati* ° Printed at Venice 1477. Ibid. 1498. 

»nU Bocfuuii, pro opartunifate pecunie,*' Paris. 1501. Basil. 1534. 4to. 


to translate into Latin six tracts of Athanasius. This trajwlation, in- 
scribed to the duke, is now among the royal manuscripts in the British 
Museum ; and at the end, in his own hand-writing, is the following in- 
sertion : ** Cest livre est a moi Homphrey Due le Gloiicestre : le quel je 
fis translater de Grec en Latin par un de mes secretaires Antoyne de 
Beccara, nd de Verone p." 

An astronomical tract, entitled by Leland Tabul;b Directiokum, 
is falsely supposed to have been written by duke Humphrey <i. But it 
was compiled at the duke*s instance, and according to tables which 
himself had constructed, called by the anonymous author in his preface, 
Tabulas illustrissimi principis ei nobilusimi domini met Humfredh &eS 
In the library of Gresham college, however, there is a scheme of calcu- 
lations in astronomy, which bear his name*. Astronomy was then a & 
vourite science : nor is it to be doubted that he was intimately acquainted 
with the politer branches of knowledge, which now began to acquire 
estimation, and which his liberal and judicious attention greatly contri- 
buted to restore. 

I close this section with an apology for Chaucer, Gower, and Occleve; 
who are supposed, by the severer etymologists, to have corrupted the 
purity of the English language, by afiPecting to introduce so many fo- 
reign words and phrases. But if we attend only to the politics of the 
times, we shall find these poets, as also some of their successors, much 
less blameable in this respect than the critics imagine. Our wars with 
France, which began in the reign of Edward the Third, were of long 
continuance. The principal nobility of England, at this period, resided 
in France, with their families, for many years. John king of France 
kept his court in England ; to which, exclusive of these French lords 
who were his fellow-prisoners, or necessary attendants, the chief nobles 
of his kingdom must have occasionally resorted. Edward the black 
prince made an expedition into Spain. John of Gaunt duke of Lan- 
caster, and his brother the duke of York, were matched with the daugh- 
ters of Don Pedro king of Castile. All these circumstances must have 
concurred to produce a perceptible change in the language of the eourt. 
It is rational therefore, and it is equitable to suppose, that instead of 
coining new words, they only complied with the common and fashion- 
able modes of speech. Would Chaucer's poems have been the delight 
of those courts in which he lived, had they been filled with unintelli- 
gible pedantries ? The cotemporaries of these poets never complained 
of their obscurity. But whether defensible on these principles or not, 
they much improved the vernacular style by the use of this exotic 

^ MSS. Reg. 5 F. 4to. Si. In the des executeun le Sr de Faunhope.'* 16 

same library is a fine folio manuscript G. vi. 

of "Chronique des Roys de France jas- ^ See Holiinsh. Cbron. sub ann. 1461. 

ques a la mort de 8. Loys, I'an. 1270/' f. 662. col. 2. 

At the end is written with the duke of ' MSS. More, 820. 

Gloucester's hand, " Cest livre est a * MSS. Gresh. 66. See MSS. Ashmol. 

moy Honifrey due de Gloucestrc du don 856. 


phraseology. It was thus that our primitive diction was enlarged and 
enriched. The English language owes its copiousness, elegance, and 
harmony, to these innovations* 


JReign of Henry the Sixth, Lydgcute, His Ufe and character. His 
Dance of Death. Macaber a German poet, Lydgate*s poem in 
honour of Saint Edmund, Presented to Henry the Sixth, at Bury^ 
abbey y in a most splendid manuscript^ now remaining. His Lyf of 
our Lady, Elegance and harmony of his style and versification, 

I CONSIDER Chaucer as-, a genial day in an English spring. A brilliant 
sun enlivens the face of nature with an unusual lustre : the sudden ap- 
pearance of cloudless skies, and the unexpected warmth of a tepid at- 
mosphere, after the gloom and the inclemencies of a tedious winter, 
fill our hearts with the visionary prospect oi a speedy summer ; and we 
fondly anticipate a long continuance of gentle gales and vernal sere- 
nity. But winter returns with redoubled horrors: the clouds condense 
more formidably than before ; and those tender buds, and early blos- 
soms, which were called forth by the transient gleam of a temporary 
sunshine, are nipped by frosts, and torn by tempests. 

Most of the poets that immediately succeeded Chaucer, seem rather 
relapsing into bcurbarism, than availing themselves of those striking 
ornaments which his judgement and imagination had disclosed. They 
appear to have been insensible to his vigour of versification, and his 
flights of fancy. It was not indeed likely that a poet should soon arise 
equal to Chaucer : and it must be remembered, that the national dis- 
tractions which ensued had no small share in obstructing the exercise 
of those studies which delight in peace and repose. His successors, 
however, approach him in no degree of proportion. Among these, 
John Lydgate is the poet who follows him at the shortest interval. 

I have placed Lydgate in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and he seems 
to have arrived at his highest point of eminence about the. year 1430^ 
Many of his poems, however, appeared before. He was a monk of the 
Benedictine abbey of Bury in Sufiblk, and an uncommon ornament of 

* In a copy of Lydgate's Chronicle of deacon, 1389. deacon, 1393. and priest, 

English Kings, there is a stanza of Ed- 1397. Registr. GuI. Cratfield, abbatis de 

ward the Fourth. MSS. Had. 2251. 3. Bury, MSS. Cott Tiber. B. ix. fol. 1. 35. 

In his poem Ab inimicis nottrU, &c. Ed- 52. Edward came to the crown, 1461. 

ward the Fourth, his Qtt^ne and M<M/ir, are Pits says, that our author died, 1482. 

remembered. MSS. Harl. ibid. 9. fol. 10. Lydgate, in hia Philomela, mentions the 

But these pieces could not well be written death of Henry lord Warwick, who died 

by Lydgate; for he was ordained a sub- in 1446. MSS. Harl. ibid. 120. fol. 256. 


his profesaion. Yet his genius was so lively, and his accomplishments 
so numerous, that I suspect the holy father saint Benedict would hardly 
have acknowledged him for a genuine disciple. After a short educar- 
tion at Oxford, he travelled into France and Italy" ; and returned a 
complete master of the language and the literature of both countries. 
He chiefly studied the Italian and French poets, particularly Dante, 
Boccacio, and Alain Chartier ; and became so distinguished a proficient 
in polite learning, that he opened a school in his monastery, for teach- 
ing the sons of the nobility the arts of verification, and the elegancies 
of composition. Yet although philology was his object, he was not 
unfamiliar with the fashionable philosophy : he was not only a poet and 
a rhetorician, but a geometrician, an astronomer, a theologist, and a 
disputant. On the whole, I am of opinion that Lydgate made con- 
siderable additions to those amplifications of our language, in which 
Chaucer, Gower, and Occleve led the way ; and that he is the first of 
our writers whose style is cloathed with that perspicuity, in which the 
English phraseology appears at this day to an English reader. 

To enumerate Lydgate's pieces, would be to write the catalogue of 
a little library. No poet seems to have possessed a greater versatility 
of talents. He moves with equal ease in every mode of composition. 
His hymns, and his ballads, have the same degree of merit : and whe- 
ther his subject be the life of a hermit or a hero, of saint Austin or Guy 
earl of Warwick, ludicrous or legendary, religious or romantic, a history 
or an allegory, he writes with facility. His transitions were rapid from 
works of the most serious and laborious kind to sallies of levity and 
pieces of popular entertainment. His muse was of universal access; 
and he was not only the poet of his monastery, but of the world in gene- 
ral*. If a disguising was intended by the company of goldsmiths, a 
mask before his majesty at Eltham, a may-game for the sheriffs and 
aldermen of London, a mumming before the lord mayor, a procession 
of pageants from the creation for the festival of Corpus Christi, or a 
carol for the coronation, Lydgate was consulted and gave the poetry'. 

" See one of his Ditties, MSS. Harl. kind, MSS. Ashmol. 59. ii. Stowe mys, 

2255. 41. foi. 148. that at the reception of Margaret queen 

1 have been oflfte in dy vers londys, &c. of Henry the Sixth, several pageaunts, the 

*[See the Prologue to Feyldis "Contro- verses by Lydgate, were shown at Paul's 

versye betwene a Lover and a Jaye." gate, in 1445. Hist. p. 385. See also 

rru a r ^fK^-^t^ «u«.,o«r« MSS. Harl. 2251. 118. fol. 250 b. The 

CAa«cer. floure of retbo^^^^^^^^ "*^f """' Coventry Play for Corpus Christi day, in 

Compyled bookes pleasaunt and mer- ^^^ ^J^^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^J^^^ 

A A ^?^ Iku r' — ^«»^**^ s« .^« written by our author. Vespas. D. viii. 

After hym noble Gower, experte m scy- ^^, ^^^y ^,^^^ .^ ^.^ BibUographia 

euce, v^-j^ -«4 A^u,^«^»^ Poetica, has furnished a list of 251 pieces 

Wrote "J^'f rt^» ^*!rl.w& written by Lydgate. Many of them, how- 

But Lydgate s worke. are fruy tefull and ^^^^^ ^^^ Attributed to him upon authority 

wu '^fi^fv^itll K-fK- ^^AA^ *\m^ foni> of "<> ^ery early date, and he is doubt- 

The Coventry Plays bear no internal 
** See a variety of his pieces of this marks of Lydgatc's hand. — Price.] 


About the year 14S0> Whetbamstede, tlie learned and liberal abbot 
of saint Albans, being desirous of familiarising the history of his patron 
saint to the monks of his convent, employed Lydgate, as it should seem, 
then a monk of Bury, to translate the Latin legend of his life in En- 
glish rhymes. The chronicler who records a part of this anecdote 
seems to consider Lydgate's translation as a matter of mere manual 
mechanism ; for he adds, that Whetbamstede paid for the translation, 
the writing, and illuminations, one hundred shillings. It was placed 
before the altar of the saint, which Whetbamstede afterwards adorned 
with much magnificence, in the abbey church ^ 

Our ^author's stanzas, called the Dance of Death, which he trans- 
lated from the French, at the request of the chapter of saint P&ul's*, to 
be inscribed under the representation of Death leading all ranks of 
men about the cloister of their church in a curious series of paintings, 
are well known. But their history has not, I believe, yet appeared. 
These verses, founded on a sort of spiritual masquerade, anciently cele- 
brated in churches", were originally written by one Macaber in German 
rhymes, and were translated into Latin about the year 1460, by one 
who caUs himself Petrus Desrey Orator. This Latin translation was 
published by Goldastus, at the end of the Speculum omnium Sta- 
TUUM TOTius ORBis TERRARUM Compiled by Rodericus Zamorensis, 
and printed at Kanau in the year 1613^ But a French translation 
was made much earlier than the Latin, and written about the walls of 
saint Innocent's cloister at Paris; from which Lydgate formed his En- 
glish version*^. 

y Gest. Joh. Whethamst. ut supra, Again, the number of the characters in 
p. cxvi. czxvii. cxziv. It is added, that Lydgate is much less than in the French ; 
Whethamstede expended on the binding, and he has not only omitted several, but 
and other exterior ornaments of the ma- supplied their places with others : so that 
nuscript, upwards of three pounds. Bale if these lines were inscribed under the 
and Pits say, that Whetbamstede him- painting at St. Faurs, it roust have differ- 
self made the translation ; p. 684. 630. It ed materially from that at St Innocent's at 
is in Trinity college at Oxford, MSS. 10. Faris. All the ancient Dances of Death, 
and in Lincoln catliedral, MSS. I. 57. though evidently deduced from one ori- 
Among Lydgate's works is recited, Vita ginal, differed much in the number and 
S, Albam MartyrU ad Joh. Frumenta- design of the characters : but they gene- 
RiUM [Whetbamstede] abbatem. rally appear to have been accompanied 
* [This, it is said, is a mistake ; as it ap • witb Macaber's verses, or with imitations 
pears from the verses themselves, that of them. See an account of the Dance of 
Lydgate undertook the translation at the Macabre, &c. published by John Harding 
instance of a French clerk. The French in 1804. — Fark.] 
version from the German of Machaber, or * See supra, vol. i. p. 205. Note K 
Machabree, has been erroneously ascribed A Dance op Death seems to be al- 
to Michael Marot, who was not born at luded to so early as in Pierce Plowman's 
the time when it was first printed. Sec De Vimons, written about 1350. 
. Bure, Bibliog. Inst. No. 3109. Ly'dgate's 

poem is neither a literal nor complete Death came driving after and al to dust 

translation of the French version^^and pashed 

this he avows: Kyngs, and Kaisars, Knights, and 

Out of the French I drough it, of en- 
tent,- " In 4to. 
N^t word by word, but folowing in sub- * See the Daunce of Macabre, MSS. 

staunce. Harl. 116. O.fol. 129. And Observations 



In the BritiBh Museum is a most splendid and elegant manuscript on 
vellum^ undoubtedly a present to king Henry the Sixth ^. It contains 
a set of Lydgate's poems, in honour of saint Edmund the patron of his 
monastery at Bury*. Besides the decoration of illuminated initials, and 
one hundred and twenty pictures of various sizes, representing the in- 
cidents related in the poetry, executed with the most delicate pencil, 
and exhibiting the habits, weapons, architecture, utensils, and many 

on the Fairy Queen, voh i!. p. 110 seq. 
The Dance of Death, falsely supposed to 
have been invented by Holbein, is differ- 
ent from this, though founded in the same 
idea. It was painted by Holbein in the 
Augustine monastery at Ba^il, 1543. but 
it appeared much earlier: in the chro- 
nicle of Hartmannus Schedelius, Norimb. 
1493. foL in the Quotidian Offices of the 
church, Paris, 1515. 8vo. and in public 
buildings, at Minden, in Westphalia, so 
early as 1383. at Lubec, in the portico 
of saint Mary's church, 1463. at Dres- 
den, in the castle or palace, 1534. at 
Annaberg, 1525. at Leipsic, &c. Paul 
Christian Hilscher has written a very 
learned and entertuning German book on 
this sttl^ect, printed at Dresden, 1705. Svo. 
Engravings of Holbein's pictures at Basil 
were published, curante Matthseo Meriano, 
at Francfort, 1649, and 1725, 4to. The 
German venei there ascribed, appeared 
in Latin elegiacs, in Caspar Laudisman's 
Decennalia Humana Peregrinationis, A.D. 
1584. I have not mentioned in my ob- 
servations on Spenser, that Georgius^my- 
lius published this Dancb at Lyons, 1542 ; 
one year before Holbein's painting -at 
Basil appeared. Next, at the same place, 
1547. Svo. 

[The most ancient complete French 
copy of La Danse Macabre was printed in 
folio at Lyons, in 1499, together with 
some other short spiritual pieces, under 
the title La Grand Danbb Macabre det 
hommet et det f emmet hittorUe, avec de 
beaux ditt en Latin et hnitainten Franqoit, 
&c. To this worlL Erasmus alludes in the 
third book of his Ratio Concionandi, where 
he says, '* Quin et vulgares rhetoristse cen- 
suerunt hoc decus, qui interdum versibus 
certo numero comprehensis, pro clausula, 
accinunt brevem et argutam senten- 
tiam, velut in Rhythmis quos Gallus quia- 
piam edidit in Choream Mortis." tonu 
V. Opp. pag. 1007. Naude calls this alle- 
gory, *' Chorea ab eximio Macabro edita." 
Mabcur. p. 224. I believe the ftrst Latin 
edition, that of Pierre Desrey which I have 
mentioned, was printed atTroyes in 1490, 
not 1460. The French have an old poem, 
partly on the same idea, La Danbb deb 
AvEUOLEB, under the conduct of Love, 

Fortune, and Death, written by Pierre 
Michault, about the year 1466. See Mem. 
Acad. Inscript et Bel. Let ii. 74)1. And 
GoHJet, Bibl. Fr. ix. 358. In De Bure's 
^Bibliographie Instructive, an older but 
less perfect edition of Le Danse Macabra 
is recited, printed at Paris in 1486, for 
Guyot Marchant. fol. In this edition the 
French rhymes are said to be by Michel 
Marot tom. i. p. 512. num. 3109. Belt 
Lettr. He has catalogued all the andent 
editions of this piece in French, which 
are many. Pierre Desrey above-mention- 
ed wrote a French romance called La 
Genealogie, on Godfrey of Bouloign. Pa- 
ris, 1511. fol. — ^Additionb.] 

^ MSS. Hari. 2278. 4to. 

* [In the library of Mr. Dennis Daly, 
which was disposed of at Dublin in 1792, 
a MS. of Lydgate contained the life of Sl 
Edmund, and with it another legend by 
him of Sl Fremnnd, presented to King 
Edward IV., a circiunstance not noticed 
by Mr. Warton. It began with these 

Off Burchardus folwe I shall the style, 
That of Seynt Fremund was whileom se- 

Which of entent did his lyff compyle, 
Was his registreer, and also his notarye, 
And in desert was with him solytarye, 
And with him ay present, remembryng 

every thing 
Wroot lyff and myracles of this hooly 


The metrical orisons of the poet are thus 
offered up for his sovereign : 

Encrease our kyng in knygbtly hygh 

With alle his lordys of the spiritualtie ; 
Pray God graunte conquestes and worthy- 

Be rightful! rule, to all the temporaltc ; 
And to Edward the Fourte, joye and 

felicyte ! 
Off his two reemys, fayth love and obeys- 

Longe to perse ver in his victoryesse 
As Just enherytor of Yngelond and France. 



Other curious particulars, belongiDg to the age of the ingenious illumi- 
nator, there are two exquisite portraits of the king, one of William 
Curteis abbot of Bury, and one of the poet Lydgate kneeling at saint 
Edmund's shrine*. In one of the king's pictures, he is represented on 
his throne, crowned, and receiving this volume from the abbot kneel- 
ing : in another he appears as a child prostrate on a carpet at saint 
£dmund*s shrine, which is richly delineated, yet without any idea of 
perspective or proportion. The figures of a great number of monks and 
attendants are introduced. Among the rest, two noblemen, perhaps 
the king's uncles, with bonnets, or caps, of an uncommon shape. It 
appears that our pious monarch kept his Christmas at this magnificent 
monastery, and that he remained here, in a state of seclusion from the 
world, and of an exemption from public cares, till the following Easter; 
and that at his departure he was created a brother of the chapter ^ It 
is highly probable, that this sumptuous book, the poetry of which was 
undertaken by Lydgate at the command of abbot Curteis ff, was pre- 
viously prepared, and presented to his majesty during the royal visit, 
or. very soon afterwards. The substance of the whole work is the life 
or history of saint Edmund *, whom the poet calls the '* precious char- 
boncle of martirs alle V In some of the prefatory pictures, there is a 
description and a delineation of two banners, pretended to belong to 
saint Edmund*. Ope of these is most brilliantly displayed, and charged 
with Adam and Eve, the serpent with a human shape to the middle, 
the tree of life, the holy lamb, and a variety of symbolical ornaments. 
This banner our bard feigns to have been borne by his saint, who was 

• There is an ancient drawing, probably First to compyle afftre my konnyng 
coeval, of Lydgate presenting hia poem His gloryous lyff, his birthe, and his 
called the Pilgrim to the earl of Salisbury, 'gynnyng, 

MSS. Harl. 4826. 1. It was written 1426. And by discent, how he that was soo 
Another of these drawings will be men- good, 

tioned below. Was in Saxon ye born, of the roval blood. 
f Fol. 6. Park.] 

« Curteis was abbot of Bury between h xhe poet's Prayer to taint Edmund 

the years 1429 and 1445. It appears that for his assistance in compiling his life, 

Lydgate was also commanded, "Late fol. 9. The history begins thus, fol. 10 b. 

charchyd in myn oold days," to make an » e-w^«: u-i ..u i 

English metrical translation of De Pro- l^ uTa^I^ !, 7 ^V1 * ^V^ 

/andis, &c. To be hung against the walls ^""^^ Alkmond of excellent noblesse, 

of the abbey church. MSS. Harl. 2255. " *««"" ^^ *>« ^^«n from John of Tin- 

1 1. fol. 40. See the last stanza. mouth's Sanctilogium, who flourished 

• [*The life and acts of St Edmond, a^®"* **»« year »360. At ihe end, con- 
King and Martyr, by John Lydgate,* a ^^^^^^ ^ith saint Edmund's legend, and 
splendid MS. on vellum, illuminated « P"* <>» ^^e ^ork, is the life of saint 
throughout, and embellished by 52 histo- Fremund. fol. 69 b. But Lydgate has made 
rical miniatures, was in the library of ^^^y additions. It begins thus : 
Topham Beauclerk, e<q. It began Who ban reniembre the myracles mer- 
thiis: ueilous 

The noble story to putte in remem- ^^'*"*^^ ^'"«t Jhesu list for his seyntes 

braunce "**«^e. 

Off Seynt Edmond, mayd martre and Compare MSS. llarl. 372. 1. 2. fol. 1.25. 

k\ng, 43 h. 

With his suppoort my style I wyl avaunce > Fol. 2. 4. 

VOL. 11. T 


a king of the East Angles, against the Danes : and he prophesies, that 
king Henry, with this ensign, would always return victorious^. The 
other banner, given also to saint Edmund, appears to be painted witi 
the arms of our poefs monastery, and its blazoning is thus described. 

This other standard, feeld sable, off colour ynde^ 

In whiche off gold been notable crownys thre. 

The first toknd in cronycle men may fynde, 

Grauntyd to hym for royal dignyte : 

And the seconde for his virgynyte : 

For martirdam the thrydde, in his suffryng. 

To these annexyd feyth, hope, and chary te. 
In tokne he was martyr, mayde, and kyng. 
These three crownys"* kyng Edmund bar certeyn. 
Whan he was sent by grace off goddis hand, 
At Geynesburuhe for to slen kyng Sweyn. 

A sort of office, or service to saint Edmund, consisting of an anti- 
phone, versicle, response, and collect, is introduced with these verses. 

To all men present, or in absence, 
Whiche to seynt Edmund haue deuocioun 
With hool herte and dew reuerence, 
Seyn° this antephnd and this orisoun ; 
Two hundred dales is grauntid off pardoun, 
Write and registred afforn his hooly shryne, 
Whiche for our feithe suffrede passioun, 
Blyssyd Edmund, kyng, martir, and virgyne. 

This is our poet's V envoy e. 

Go litel book, be ferful, quaak for drede, 
For t'appere in so hyhe presence °. 

Lydgate's poem called the Lyfe of our Lady, printed by CaxtonP, 
is opened with these harmonious and elegant lines, which do not seem 
to be destitute of that eloquence which the author wishes to share 
with Tully, Petrarch, and Chaucer i. He compares the holy Virgin to 
a star. 

O though tfuir herte, plonged in distresse 

With slombre of slouth, this long wynter's night ! 

Out of the slepe of mortal hevinesse 

Awake anon, and loke upon the light 

^ Fol. 3. 1 blue. victorious prynce, Harry the Fyfthe, in 

^ See fol. 103 b. f. 104. the honowre, glory and reverance of the 

" sing; ^ay.] byrthe of our most blessed Lady," &c. 

"^ Fol. 118 b. Without date. fol. Afterwards by Robert 

P "This book was compyled by 'Dan Redman, 1531. 4to. See MSS. Harl. 629^ 

John Lydgat^ monke of Burye, at the fol. metnbran. 

excitation and styrrynge of the noble and ^ Cap. xxxiii. xxxiv. 


Of thilkd sterre, that vitb her bemys bright, 
And with the shynynge of her stremes mery^y 
Is wont to glad all our hemisperie'I — 

This sterre in beautie passith Pleiades, 

Bothe of shynynge, and eke of stremes clere, 

Bootes, and Arctur, and also lades. 

And Esperus, whan that it doth appere : 

For this is Spica, with her brightd spere% 

That towarde evyn, at midnyght, and at morowe, 

Downe from hevyn adawith^ al our sorowe. — 

And dryeth up the bytter terys wete 

Of Aurora, after the morowe graye, 

That she in wepying dothe on floures flete*^, 

In lusty Aprill, and in fresshd Maye : 

And causeth Phebus, the bryght somers daye, 

Wyth his wayne gold-y homed ^, bryght and fay re, 

To* enchase the myst^ of our cloudy ayre. 

Now fayrd sterre, O sterre of sterrys all I 
Whose lyght to se the angels do delyte, 
So let the gold-dewe of thy grace yfall 
Into my breste, lyke scalys fayre and whyte, 
Me to enspire"! 

Lydgate's manner is naturally verbose and diffuse. This circum- 
stance contributed in no small degree to give a clearness and a fluency 
to his phraseology. For the same reason he is often tedious and lan- 
guid. His chief excellence is in description, especially where the subr 
ject admits a flowery diction. He is seldom pathetic or animated. 

In another part of this poem, where he collects arguments to con- 
vince unbelievers that Christ might be born of a pure virgin, he thus 
speaks of God's omnipotence. 

And he that made the high and cristal heven, 
The firmament, and also every sphere. 
The golden ax-tre^, and the sterres seven, 
Citherea, so lusty for to' appere. 
And redd^ Mars^', with his stemd here; 
Myght he not eke ondly for our sake 
Wythyn a mayde of man his kyndd* take? 

' hemisphere. storiale, the name Maria \a fid fayre gra^ 

* sphere. ven on a red rose, in lettris of bournio 

* affright, remove, [awalcens.] gold. MSS. HarL 2251. 39. fol. 71b. 

* fioats drop, * prologue. 

* BumUhed with gold. So In Lydgate's ^ of the sun. 
Legend on Dan Joos a monk, taken from ' Mart. 
Vincentius Bellovacensis's Speculum Hi' * nature. 

2/(5 LYDGATE's ELKGANCK and harmony. [sect. XXI. 

For he that doth the tender braancfaes sprynge^ 
And the fresshe flouris in the gretd mede, 
That were in wynter dede and eke droupynge> 
Of bawmd all y voyd and lestyhede ; 
Myght he not make his grayne to growe and sede, 
Witiiin her brest, that was both mayd and wyfe. 
Whereof is made the sothfast^ breade of lyfe ? ^ 

We are surprised to find verses of so modem a cast as the following 
at such an early period ; which in this sagacious age we should judge 
to be a forgery, was not their genuineness authenticated, and their an- 
tiquity confirmed, by the venerable types of Caxton, and a multitude 
of unquestionable manuscripts. 

Like as the dewe discendeth on the rose 
With sylver drops.** — — — 

Our Saviour's crucifixion is expressed by this remarkable metaphor. 

Whan he of purple did his baner sprede 

On Calvarye abroad upon the rode, 

To save mankynde.* — — — ^ 

Our author, in the course of his panegyric on the Virgin Mary, 
affirms, that she exceeded Hester in meekness, and Judith in wisdom ; 
and in beauty, Helen, Polyxena, Lucretia, Dido, Bathsheba, and 
Rachel'. It is amazing, that in an age of the most superstitious devo- 
tion so little discrimination should have been made between sacred 
and profane characters and incidents. But the common sense of man- 
kind had not yet attained a just estimate of things. Lydgate, in an- 
other piece, has versified the rubrics of the missal, which he applies to 
the god Cupid ; and declares, with how much delight he frequently 
meditated on the holy legend of those constant martyrs, who were not 
afraid to suffer death for the faith of that omnipotent divinity '. There 
are instances, in which religion was even made the instrument of love. 
Arnaud Daniel, a celebrated troubadour of the thirteenth century, in 
a fit of amorous despair, promises to found a multitude of annual 
masses, and to dedicate perpetual tapers to the shrines of saints, for 
the important purpose of obtaining the affections of an obdurate mis- 

* true. A mery tale I telle yow may 

" Cap. XX. ' Of seynt Marie that swete may: 

' Cap. xix. A He the tale of this lessone 

• Cap. ix. Is of her Assumptione. — 

' Cap. iv. In a Life of the Virgin in Mary moder, welle thee be! 

the British Museum, I find these easy Mary mayden, thenk on me! 

lyrics Introduced, MSS. Harl. 2382. 2. 3. Mayden and moder was never none, 

fnl. 75. fol. 86 b. Though I am not Togader, lady, save thee allone. 

certain that they properly belong to this But these lines will be considered again, 
work: ' MSS. Fairfax, xvi. Bibl. Bodl. 



Lydgaie continued. His Fail qf Princes^ from Laurence Premtetf ait's 
French paraphrase of Boccace on the same subject. Nature^ plan 
nnd specimens of that poem. Its sublime allegorical figure of Fortune. 
Authors cited in the same. Boccace's opportunities of collecting many 
stories of Greek original^ now not extant in any Greek writer., Lyd- 
gate*s Storie of Hushes. An additional Canterbury Tale. Itsplan, 
and originals. Martianus Capella. Happily imitated by Lydgaie, 
Feudal manners applied to Greece. Specimen of Lydgaie s force in 

But Lydgate*s principal poems are the Fall of Princes *, the Siege 
OF Thebes, and the Destruction of Troy.. Of all these I shall 
speak distinctly. 

About the year 1360, Boccacio wrote a Latin history in ten books, 
entitled De Casibus Virorum et Feminarum illustrium. Like 
other chronicles of the times, it commences with Adam, and is brought 
down to the author s age. Its last grand event is John king of France 
taken prisoner by the English at the battle of Poitiers, in the year 1359^ 
This book of Boccacio was soon afterwards translated into French, by 
one of whom little more seems to be known, than that he was named 
Laurence ; yet so paraphrastically, and with so many considerable ad- 
ditions, as almost to be rendered a ne^ work^ Laurence's French 

* [Mr. Heber has a poetical tract, print- For hoorde hathe hate, and clyinbynge 
ed by W. de Worde, entitled " The Pro- tykylnesse, 

▼erbes of Lydgaie." In the colophon it Prece hathe eiivye, and wellisblente over 
is termed " The Proverbes of Lydgate all, &c. 

mp^ thefMofpryncet." It begin. ^^j, ^.„ ^^^ ^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^ .^ ,^ ^^ 

To kysse the steppes of them that were what is proverbial, than what is morally 

fortheryng sententious in this tract. — Park. 

Laureate poetes which had soveraynte. Hearne supposes the above work to 

It con5Uu of «!ve«.l detached poem. g«- J"" ^«" P"r'*,VT " l!?"'.'"-.""."'^'- 

thered from Lydgate'. imitation of Boc Y^' ^^^Za' L,^V^ " *" ^ 

cado. The whole are con.po«d in .tan- ^'?£*"i'^,T°r ^^ a^ .- • 

,«. which have the peculiirity of closing , ,./""** » Aa.bourg. And at P«-... 

with a .imilar Une in each piece. Thf * *m L . t "•■"•""«• *at V^ua 

third of the.e bear, relation to a «>ng *°"'^"?'iT ilT /!'??.'" "' 

which i. in abeyance between Chattcer «>d rJl'*Jt* rn.^"^"^**'. 7* *.■" '* "?' 
Lvdirate printed. De Hist Lat. lib. in. cap. ii. 

^ ^ ' It was translated into Italian by Betussi, 

Ecce bonum consilium Galfridi Chauceri in Firenza, 15Q6, 8vo. 2 vol. 

contra fortunam. ** In Lydgate's Prologue, B. i. fol. i. 

Fie from the prece, and dwell with sothe- ®* ^^^ ^' ®**»^ "' '»'*»'• 

fastnesse ; He that sumtime did his diligence 

Suffyse unto thy good, thoughe it be The boke of Bochas in /Vt^nW^ <o //-nn^/a/r 

small ; Out of Latin^ he called was Laurenck. 



[sect. XXfl. 

translation, of which there Lb a copy in the Dritbh Moseum*', and 
which was printed at Lyons in the year 1483*^, is the original of 
Lydgate's poem. This Laurence or Laurent, sometimes called 
Laurent de Premierfait, a village in the diocese of Troies, was an 
ecclesiastic, and a famous translator. He also translated into French 
Boccacio's Decameron, at the request of Jane queen of Navarre ; Ci- 
cero DE Amicitia and de Senectute ; and Aristotle's CEconomics, 
dedicated to Louis de Bourbon, the king's uncle. These versions ap- 
peared in the year 1414 and 1416 ^ Caxton's Tullius of Old Age, or 
De Senectute, printed in 1481, is translated from Laurence's French 
version. Caxton, in the postscript, calls him Lawrence deprimo facto. 

Lydgate's poem consists of nine books, and is thus entitled in the 
earliest edition : — " The Tragedies gathered by John Bochas of all 
such princes as fell from theyr estates throughe the mutability of for- 
tune since the creaciok of Adam until his time, &c Translated into 
English by John Lidgate monke of Burye'^." The best and most au- 

He says that Laurence (in his Prologue) 
declares, that he avails himself of the pri- 
vilege of skilful artificers ; who may 
channgt and turner hy good -diseretion, 
shapes emd forms, and newly them devise, 
make and unmake, &c. and that old 
authors may be rendered more agreeable, 
by being cioathed in new ornaments of 
language, and improved with new inven- 
tions. Ibid. a. col. 1. He adds, that it 
was Laurence's design, in his translation 
into French, to amende, correct, and de- 
clare, and not to spare thinges touched 
shortly. Ibid. col. 2. Afterwards he calls 
him this noble translatour. Ibid. b. col. 1. 
In another place, where a panegyric on 
France is introduced, he says that this 
passage is not Boccado's, but added, 

By one Laurence, which was transla- 

Of this processe, to eommende France ; 

To prayse that lande was all his pUa- 

B. ix. ch. 28. fol. 31 a. col. 1. editutinfr. 
Our author, in the Prologue above-cited, 
seems to speak as if there had been a 
previous translation of Boccacio's book 
into French. Ut supr. a. col. 1. 

Thus Laubence from him envy exclu- 

Though trfome him translated was this 

But I suspect be only means, that Boc- 
cacio*s original work was nothing more 
than a collection or compilation from more 
ancient authors. 

• MSS. Harl. See also ibid. MSS. Reg. 
18 D. vii. And 16 G. v. And MSS. 
Bodl. F. 10. 2. [2465.] He is said to 

have translated this work in 1409. MSS. 
Reg. ut supr. 20 C. iv. 

^ In folio. Bayle says, that a French 
translation appeared at Paris, by Claudius 
Vitart, in 1578. 8vo. Diction. Boccace. 
Note ». 

* He died in 1418. See Martene, Ampl. 
Collect tom. iL p. 1405. And Mem. de 
Litt. xvii. 759. 4to. Compare du Verdier, 
Biblioth. Fr. p. 72. And BibU Rom. ii. 
291. It is extraordinary that the piece 
before us should not be mentioned by the 
French antique ries as one of Laurence's 
translations. Lydgate, in the Prologue 
above-cited, observes, that Laurence, who 
in cunyng did excel, undertook this trans- 
lation at the request of some eminent per- 
sonages in France, who had the interest 
of rhetorike at heart. Ut supih. a. col. 2. 

' Imprinted at London by John Way- 
land, without date, foL He printed in 
the reign of Henry the Eighth. There 
iii a small piece by Lydgate, not connected 
with this, entitled The Tragedy of princes 
that were lecherous. MSS. Ashmol. 
59. ii. 

[The first edition had the following title, 
according to a copy in the library of AU 
Souls College, Oxford. 

" Here begynneth the boke of Joban 
Bochas discrying the fall of princes, prin- 
cesses, and other nobles. Translated into 
Englysshe by John Lydgate monke of 
Bury ; begynnyng at Adam and Eve, and 
endyng with Kyng Johan of Fraunce, 
taken prisoner at Poyters by prince Ed- 

Colophon : 

" Thus endith the nynth and lasteboke 
of John Bochas, which treateth of the hU 
of princes, &c. Imp. at London in Flecte- 


thentic manuscript of this piece is in the British Museum ; probably 
written under the inspection of the author, and perhaps intended as a 
present to Humphrey duke of Glocester, at whose gracious command 
the poem, as I have before hinted, was undertaken. It contains among 
numerous miniatures illustrating the several histories, portraits of Lyd- 
gate, and of another monk habited in black, perhaps an abbot of Bury, 
kneeling before a prince, who seems to be saint Edmund, seated on a 
throne under a canopy, and grasping an arrow ^. 

The work is not improperly styled a set of tragedies. It is not merely 
a narrative of men eminent for their rank and misfortunes. The plan 
is perfectly dramatic, and partly suggested by the pageants of the 
times. Every personage is supposed to appear before the poet, and to 
relate his respective sufferings ; and the figures of these spectres are 
sometimes finely drawn. Hence a source is opened for moving com- 
passion, and for a display of imagination. In some of the lives the 
author replies to the speaker, and a sort of dialogue is introduced for 
conducting the story. Brunchild, a queen of France, who murthered 
all her children, and was afterwards hewn in pieces, appears thus. 

She came, arayed nothing like a queue, 

Her hair untressed, Bochas toke good hede ; 

In al his booke he had afore not sene 

A more wofull creature indede, 

With weping eyne, to torne was al her wede : 

Rebuking Bochas cause he' had left behynde 

Her wretched nes for to put in mynde.^ 

Yet in some of these interesting interviews, our poet excites pity of 
another kind. When Adam appears, he familiarly accosts the author 
with the salutation of Cosyn Bochas \ 

Nor does our dramatist deal only in re^l characters and historical 
personages. Boccacio standing pensive in his library, is alarmed at the 
sudden entrance of the gigantic and monstrous image of Fortune, 
whose agency has so powerful and universal an influence in human affairs, 
and especially in effecting those vicissitudes which are the subject of this 
work. There is a Gothic greatness in her figure, with some touches of 
the grotesque ; — an attribute of the early poetry of all nations, before 
ideas of selection have taken place. I must add, that it was Boethius's 
admired allegory on the Consolation of Philosophy, which intro- 
duced personification into the poetry of the middle ages. 

Whyle Bochas pensyfe stode in his lybrarye, 
Wyth chere oppressed, pale in hys vysage, 
Somedeale abashed, alone and solitarye ; 

streete by Richarde Pynson, &c. and fy- *» Lib. vii. f. xxi. a. col. 1. 

nisshed the xxi day of Feb. 1527." — * B. i. fol. i. a. col. 2. In the same 

Park.] style he calls Ixion Juno's secretary, B. i. 

* MS8. Harl. 1766. fol. 5. ch. xii. fol. xxi. b. col. 2. 


To hym appeared a monstruous ymage, 

Parted in twayne of color and corage. 

Her ryght syde ful of sommer floures, 

The tother oppressed with winter stormy showres. 

Bochas astoniedy fall fearfull to abrayde^ 
When he beheld the wonderful! fygiire 
Of Fortune, thus to hymself he sayde. 
''What may this meane? Is this a creature^ 
Or a monstrd transfourmed agayne nature> 
Whose brenning eyen spercle of their lyght. 
As do the sterres the frosty wynter nyght ? " 

And of her cher^ ful god hede he toke ; 

Her face semyng cruel and terrible, 

And by disdayne menacing of loke ; 

Her heare untrussd, harde, sharpe, and horyble, 

Frowarde of shape, lothsome, and odible : 

An hundred handes she had, of eche part^ 

In sondrye wise her gyftes to departed 

Some of her handes lyft up men alofte, 
To hye estate of worldlye dignite ; 
Another handd griped ful unsofte. 
Which cast another in grete adversite, 
Gave one richesse, another poverte, &c. — 

Her habyte was of manyfolde colours, 
Watchet blew^ of fayned stedfastnesse, 
Her gold allay d like sun in watry showres, 
Meynt™ with grene, for chaunge and doublenesse.^ — 

Her hundred hands, her burning eyes, and disheveled tresses, are 
sublimely conceived. After a long silence, with a stem countenance 
she addresses Bochas, who is greatly terrified at her horrible appear- 
ance ; and having made a long harangue on the revolutions and changes 
which it is her business to produce among men of the most prosperous 
condition and the most elevated station, she calls up Caius Marius, and 
presents him to the poet. 

Blacke was his wede, and his habyte also, 
His heed unkempt, his lockes hore and gray. 
His loke downe-cast in token of sorowe and wo; 
On his chekes the saltd teares lay. 
Which bare recorde of his deadly affray. 

^ on either side. * dijtribute. " mingled. 


His rob^ stayned was with Romayne blode, 
His Bworde aye redy whet to do yengeaunce ; 
Lyke a tyraunt most furyouse and wode', 
In slaughter and murdre set at his plesaunce.° 

She then teaches Pochas how to describe his life, and disappears. 

These wordes saydd, Fortune made an ende. 
She bete her wynges, and toke her to flyght, 
I can not sd what waye she did wende ; 
Save Bochas telleth, lyke an angeU bryght, 
At her departing she shewed a great lyghtP 

In another place, Dante, " of Florence the laureate poete, demure 
of loke fuUfilled with patience," appears to Bochas; and conunands him 
to write ^he tale of Gualter duke of Florence, whose days for his ti- 
rannyy lechery, and covetyse, ended in mischefe, Dante then vanishes, 
. and only duke Gualter is left alone with the poeti. Petrarch is also 
introduced for the same purpose'. 

The following golden couplet, concerning the prodigies which pre- 
ceded the civil wars between Csesar and Pompey, indicates dawnings of 
that poetical colouring of expression, and of that facility of versifica- 
tion, which mark the poetry of the present times. 

Serpents and adders, scaled sylver-bryght, 
Were over Rome sene flying al the nyght." 

These verses, in which the poet describes the reign of Saturn, have 
much harmony, strength, and dignity. 

Fortitude then stode stedfast in his might. 
Defended wydowes, cherishd chastity ; 
Knyghtehood in prowes gave so clere a light, 
Girte with his sworde of truthe and equity.* 

Apollo, Diana, and Minerva, joining the Roman army, when Rome 
was besieged by Brennus, are poetically touched. 

Appollo first yshewed his presence, 
Fresshe, yonge, and lusty, as any sunn^ shene, 
Armd all with golde ; and with great vyolence 
Entrcd the feldd, as it was wel sene : 
And Diaufi came with her arowes kene : 
And Mynervfi in a bryght haberjoun ; 
Which in ther coming made a terrible soun." 

" mad. ' B. viii. fol. 1. Prol. a. b. He luentiona 

° B. i. fol. cxxxviii. b. coL 2. all Petrarch's works, Prol. B. iv. fol. 93 a. 

' Ibid. fol. cxxxix. a. col. 2. col. 1. 

' B. ix. fol. xxxiv. b. col. 1.2. In an- • B. vi. fol. 147 a. col. I. 

other place Dante's three books on heaven, ' B. vii. fol. 161 b. col. 1. 

purgatory, and hell, are particularly com- " B. iv. ch. 22. fol. cxiii. a. col. 1. 

mended. B. iv. Prol. fol. zciii. a. col. 1. 



[sect. XXI r. 

And the following lines are remarkable. 

God hath a thousand handes to chastysej 
A thousand dartds of punicion, 
A thousand bowes made in divers wyse, 
A thousand arlblasts bent in his dongeon.^ 

Lydgate, in this poem, quotes Seneca s tragedies^ for the story of 
CEdipus, Tully, Virgil and his commentator Servius, Ovid, Livy, Lu- 
can, Lactautius, Justin ^ or "prudent Justinus an old croniclere," Jo- 
sephus, Valerius Maximus, saint Jerom*s chronicle, Boethius", Plato on 
the immortality of the soul*, and Fulgentius the mythologist**. He 
mentions " noble Persius," Prosper's epigrams, Vegetius's book on 
Tactics, which was highly esteemed, as its subject coincided with the 
chivalry of the times, and which had been just translated into French 
by John of Meun and Christina of Pisa, and into English by John 
Trevisa S " the grene chaplet of Esop and Juvenal ^," Euripides " in 
liis tyme a great tragician, because he wrote many tragedies," and an- 
other called Clarke Demosthenes*. For a catalogue of Tully s works, 
he refers to the Speculum Historiale ^ or Myrrour HysUyriaUy of 
Vyncentius Bellovacensis ; and says, that he wrote twelve books of 
Orations, and several moraU ditties^. Aristotle is introduced as teach- 
ing Alexander and Callisthenes philosophy**. With regard to Homer, 
he observes, that " Grete Omerus, in Isidore ye may see, fouude amonge 

^ tower ; castle. B. 1. ch. 3. fol. vi. a. 
col. 1. 

* B. i. ch. 9. fol. xviii. a. col. 1. 

y B. i. ch. 11. fol. xxi. b. col. 2. B. ii. 
ch. 6. fo!. xlv. a, col. 1. B.iii. ch. 14. fol. 
Ixxxi. b. col. 1. Ibid. ch. 25. fol. Ixxxix. 
a. col. 2. B. iv. ch. U. fol. iii. b. col. 1. 
See Prol. B. i. ' 

* B. ii. ch. 15. fol. li. a. col. 1. col. 2. 
Ibid. ch. 16. fol. Iii. a. col. 2. Ibid. ch. 2. 
fol. xlii. a. col. 1. Ibid. ch. 30. fol. Ixii. b. 
col. 1. B. viii. ch. 24. fol. xliii. a. col. 2. 

* B. iii. ch. 5. fol. Ixxi. a. col. 1. 

^ B. ix. ch. 1. fol. XX. a. col. 1. From 
whom Boccacio largely transcribes in his 
Genealogiae Deoruro, hereafter mentioned. 

* MSS. Digb. Bibl. Bodl. 233. Princip. 
** In olde tyme it was the manere." Fi- 
nished at the command of his patron 
Thomas lord Berkeley. See supra, p. 

"AProl. B. iv. fol. 92 a. col. 2. 93 a. 
col. 1. 

« B. ii. ch. 22. fol. 54 b. col. 2. 
f See supra, vol. i. p. 136. 

* B. vi. ch. 15. fol. 151b. col. I. 

^ B. iv. ch. 9. fol. xcix. seq. This is 
from Aristotle's Secret iini Secrelcrum, 
which Lydgate, as I have mentioned 

above, translated. But he did not finish 
the translation ; for about the middle of 
it we have this note : — " Here dyed this 
translator and notable poet John Lydgate, 
monk of Bury, and Fowler bygan his 
prolog in this wyse: — fFhere Jhnre of 
knighthood the bataile doth refuse." fol. 
336. MSS. Laud. K. 53. The Prologue 
consibts of ten stanzas ; in which he com- 
pares himself to a dwarf entering the lists 
when the knight is foiled. But it is the 
yong Fowler, in MSS. Laud. B. xxiv. 
In. the Harleian copy of this piece I find 
the following note, at fol. 236. " Here 
deyde the translatour a noble poete Dan 
Johne Lydgate, and his folowere begtm 
his prologe in this wise. Per Benedictum 
Burghe. fVfiere fioure of*' &c, MSS. 
Harl. 2251. 117. Where Folowere may 
be a corruption ofFoltoer, or Fowler. But 
it must be observed, that there was a Be- 
nedict Burghe, coeval with Lydgate, and 
preferred to many dignities in the church, 
who translated into English verse, for the 
use of lord Bourchier son of the earl of 
Essex, C ATOM IS moralia carmina, altered 
and printed by Caxton, 1 483. ful. More 
will be said of Burgh's work in its proper 


Greke9 the crafte of eloquence K** By Isidore he means the Orioines, 
or Etymologies of Isidore Hispalensis, in twenty books ; a system of 
universal information, the encyclopede of the dark ages, and printed in 
Italy before the year l^TS^. In another place, he censures the singu- 
lar partiality of the Book called Omeref -which places Achilles above 
Hector ^ Again, speaking of the Greek writers, he tells us, that Bochas 
mentions a scriveyn, or scribe, who in a small scroll of paper wrote the 
destruction of Troy, following Homer ; a history much esteemed among 
the Greeks, on account of its brevity". This was Dictys Cretensis, or 
Dares Fhrygius. But for perpetuating the achievements of the knights 
of the round table, he supposes that a clerk was appointed, and that he 
compiled a register from the poursuivants and heralds who attended 
their tournaments ; and that thence the histories of those invincible 
champions were framed, which whether read or sung, have afforded so 
much delight". For the stories of Constantine and Arthur he brings 
as }i\s vouchers, the chronicle or romance called Brut or Brutus, and 
Geoffrey of Monmouth®. He concludes the legend of Constantine by 
telling us, that an equestrian statue in brass is still to be seen at Con- 
stantinople of that emperor ; in which he appears armed with a prodi- 
gious sword, menacing the Turks p. In describing the Pantheon at 
Rome, he gives us some circumstances highly romantic. He relates 
that this magnificent fane was full of gigantic idols, placed on lofty 
stages » these images were the gods of all the nations conquered by the 
Romans, and each turned his countenance to that province over which 
he presided. Every image held in his hand a bell framed by magic ; 
and when any kingdom belonging to the Roman jurisdiction was medi- 
tating rebellion against the imperial city, the idol of that country gave, 
by some secret principle, a solenm warning of the distant treason by 
striking his bell, which never sounded on any other occasion 4, Our 
author, following Boccacio who wrote the Thesbid, supposes that The- 
seus founded the order of knighthood at Athens'. He introduces, 
much in the manner of Boethius, a disputation between Fortune and 
Poverty; supposed to have been written by Andalus the blake^ el doctor 
of astronomy at Naples, who was one of Bochas's preceptors. 

At Naples whylom, as he dothe specifye, 
In his youth when he" to schole went, 
There was a doctour of astronomye ; — 
And he was called Andalus the blahe} 

* B. ii. ch. 15. foU 51 a. col. 2. ^ B. viii. ch. 13. fol. viii. b. ool. 2. Boc- 
^ See Oesner. Bibl. p. 468. And Matt. cacio wrote the original Latin of this work 

Annal. Typ. i. p. 100. long before the Turks took and sacked 

' B. !▼. Prol. fol. 93 a. col. 1. Constantinople, in 1453. 

" B. ii. cap. 15. fol. 51 b. col. 1. * B. viii. ch. 1. fol. xx. a, col. 1. 

* B. viii. cb. 25. fol. xv. a. col. 1. See ' B. i. c. 12. fol. xxil. a. col. 2. 
supra, col. 1. p. 331. seq. ' Boccacio. 

* B. viii. ch. 13. fol. 7 a. col. 2. fol. 14 Mi. iii. ch. 1. fol. Ixv. a. col. 1. " He 
b. col. 1. fol. 16 a. col. 2. See supra, vol. rede in scholes the moving of the heavens," 
S. p. 58. &c. Boccacio mentions with much regard 


Lydgate appears to have been far advanced in years when he finish- 
ed this poem ; for at the beginning of the eighth book he complains of 
his trembling joints, and declares that age, having benumbed his fa- 
culties, has deprived him <<of all the subtylte of curious makyng in 
Englysshe to endyte"/' Our author, in the structure and modulation 
of his style, seems to have been ambitious of rivalling Chaucer^ ; whose 
capital compositions he enumerates, and on whose poetry he bestows 
repeated encomiums*. 

I cannot quit this work without adding an observation relating to 
Boccacio, its original author, which perhaps may deserve attention. It 
is highly probable that Boccacio learned many anecdotes of Grecian 
history and Grecian fable, not to be found in any Greek writer now 
extant, from his preceptors Barlaam, Leontius, and others, who had 
lived at Constantinople while the Greek literature was yet flourishing. 
Some of these are perhaps scattered up and down in the composition 
before us, which contains a considerable part of the Grecian story ; 
and especially in his treatise of the genealogies of the gods*. Boccacio 
himself calls his master Leontius an inexhaustible archive of Grecian 
tales and fables, although not equally conversant with those of the La- 
tins y. He confesses that he took many things in his book of the ge- 
nealogies of the gods from a vast work entitled Collectivum, now 
lost, written by his cotemporary Paulus Perusinus, the materials of 
of which had in great measure been furnished by Barlaam*. We are 
informed also, that Perusinus made use of some of these fugitive Greek 
scholars, especially Barlaam, for collecting rare books in that language. 
Perusinus was librarian, about the year 1340, to Robert king of Jeru- 
salem and Sicily ; and was the most curious and inquisitive man of his 
age for searching after unknown or uncommon manuscripts, especially 
histories and poetical compositions, and particularly such as were 
written in Greek. I will beg leave to cite the words of Boccacio, who 
records this anecdote. *^ Et, si usquam curiosissimus fuit homo in 
perquirendis, jussu etiam principis, pereorinis undecunque libris. 

Andalus de Nioro aa one of his mas- The fall of pryncet he did also corn- 
ten, in his Geneal. Deor. lib. xv cap. vi. playne, 

and says, that Andalus has extant many As he that was of makyng soverayne, 

Opttscula astrorum ccclique motus osten- Whom al this lande of ryght ought [to] 

aentia. I think Leander, in his Italia, prefarre ; 

calls this Andalus, Andalotius niger, cu- Sith of our langage he was the lode-starre. 

riotiu Mtrologus, See Papyrius Mass. — Park.] 

Elog. torn iip 195. Mn fifteen books. First printed in 1481. 

Ho n hi* ;7f' M Vi***^*!^^'*^^*'^*^ fol. And in Italian by Betussi, Venet. 

^%,''fl^'^f.'']f^''^'^;'^^^^yy^^ 1553. In French at Piris, 1531. foL In 

• [Among thes": t^tllo^n^g invite. the Interpretation of the fables he is very 

*.if«»inn . prolix and jejune. 

*^'""°" • y Geneal. Deor. lib. xv. cap. vi. 

My master Cuaucer with his fresh com- * '*Quicquid apud Griecos inveniri po- 

medies, test, adjutorio Barla^e arbitror coUe- 

Is deade, alas! chiefe poete of Brytayne: gisse." Geneal. Deor. lib. xv. cap. vi. 
That sunitimc made ful piteous tragedies. 


HiSTORiis et PoETicis operibus, iste fuit. £t ob id, singulari amici- 
tiae Barlaae conjunctus, quae a Latinis habere non poterat eo medio 
INNUMERA exhausit a GRiEcis*." By these HisTORiiE and Poetfca 
Opera, brought from Constantinople by Barlaam, undoubtedly works 
of entertainment, and perhaps chiefly of the romantic and fictitious 
species, I do not understand the classics. It is natural to suppose that 
Boccacio, both from his connections and his curiosity, was no stranger 
to these treasures ; and that many of these pieces, thus imported into 
Italy by the diq>ersion of the Constantinopolitan exiles, are only known 
at present through the medium of his writings. It is certain that many 
oriental fictions found their way into Europe by means of this commu- 

Lydgate*s Storie of Thebes was first printed by William Thinne, 
at the end of his edition of Chaucer's works, in 1561. The author 
introduces it as an additional Canterbury tale. After a severe sickness, 
having a design to visit the shrine of Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, 
he arrives in that city while Chaucer's pilgrims were assembled there 
for the same purpose ; and by mere accident, not suspecting to find so 
numerous and respectable a company, goes to their inn. There is some 
humour in our monk's travelling figure.^ 

In a cope of black, and not of grene. 
On a palfray, slender, long, and lene. 
With rusty bridle, made not for the sale, 
My man toforne with a void male.*^ 

He sees, standing in the hall of the inn, the convivial host of the tabard, 
full of his own importance ; who, without the least introduction or he- 
sitation thus addresses our author, quite unprepared for such an abrupt 
salutation. ^ 

— — — Dan Pers, 
Dan Dominike, Dan Godfray, or Clement, 
Ye be welcome neWly into Kent ; 
Though your bridle have neither boss, ne bell**, 
Beseching you that you will tell. 
First of your name, &c. — — 
That looke so pale, all devoid of blood, 
Upon your head a wonder thredbare hood.^ — 

Our host then invites him to supper, and promises that he shall have, 
made according to his own directions, a large pudding, a round hctgisy 
a French moUe, or k phrase of eggs; adding, that he looked extremely 
lean for a monk, and must certainly have been sick, or else belong to 
a poor monastery; that some nut-brown ale after supper will be of 

■ Oeneal. Deor. lib. xv. cap. vl. ^ portmanteau. 

•» Edit 1687. fol. ad calc. Chaucer's * See supra, vol. i. p. 167. Note ^ 

Workf, pag. 623. col. i. Prol. • Ibid. 


service, and that a quantity of the seed of annis, cummin, or coriander, 
taken before going to bed, will remove flatulencies. But above all, 
says the host, cheerful company will be your best physician. You shall 
not only sup with me and my companions this evening, but return with 
us to-morrow to London ; yet on condition, that you will submit to one 
of the indispensable rules of our society, which is to tell an entertaining 
story while we are travelling. 

What, looke up, Monke I For by cockes' blood, 

Thou shall be mery, whoso that say nay ; 

For to-morrowe, anone as it is day, 

And that it ginne in the east to dawe^. 

Thou shall be bound to a newe lawe, 

At going out of Canterbury toun. 

And lien aside thy professioun ; 

Thou shall not chese^, nor thyself withdrawe, 

If any mirth be found in thy mawe. 

Like the custom of this company ; 

For none so proude that dare me deny, ' 

Knight, nor knave, chanon, priest, ne nonne. 

To telle a tale plainely as they conne*, 

When I assigne, and see time oportune ; 

And, for that we our purpose woll contune'^, 

We will homeward the same custome use.' 

Our monk, unable to withstand this profusion of kindness and festi- 
vity, accepts the host's invitation, and sups with the pilgrims. The 
next morning, as they are all riding from Canterbury to Ospringe, the 
host reminds his friend Dan John of what he had mentioned in the 
evening, and without further ceremony calls for a story. Lydgate obeys 
his commands, and recites the tragical destruction of the city of Thebes '°. 
As the story is very long, a pause is made in descending a very steep 
hill near the Thrope^ of BrotighUm on the SleC; when our author, who 
was not furnished with that accommodation for knowing the time of 
the day, which modem improvements in science have given to the tra- 
veller, discovers by an accurate examination of his calendar, I suppose 
some sort of graduated scale, in which the sun's horary progress along 
the equator was marked, that it is nine in the morning.^ 

It has been said, but without any authority or probability, that 
Chaucer first wrote this story in a Latin narrative, which Lydgate 

' God's. forest. A hamlet It occurs again pag. 

• dawn. 651. col. 1. 

« ca»*!*or'know. ^"" townes, ihropes, and villages. 

^ continue. And in the Troye-Boke, he mentions 

* Pag. 622. col. 2. seq. " province?, borowes, Tyllsges, ftnd 
** Ibid. thropes.** B. ii. c. x. 

■ Or Thorpe, Properly. a lodge in a • Pag. 630. col. 2. 


afterwards translated into English verse. Our author's originals are 
Guido Colonna, Statins, and Seneca the tragedian ^ Nicholas Trevet, 
an Englishman, a Dominican friar of London, who flourished about the 
year 1330, has "left a commentary on Seneca's tragedies ^ : and he was 
so favourite a poet as to have been illustrated by Thomas Aquinas'. 
He was printed at Venice so early as the year H82. Lydgate in this 
poem often refers to myne aucUyr^ who, I suppose, is either Statins or 
Colonna". He sometimes cites Boccacio's Latin tracts ; particularly 
the GENEALOOiiE Deorum, a work which at the restoration of learn- 
ing greatly contributed to familiarise the classical stories; Db Casibus 
ViRORUM ILLUSTRIUM, the grouud-work of the Fall of Princes just 
mentioned ; and De Claris Mulieribus, in which pope Joan is one 
of the heroines ^ From the first, he has taken the story of Amphion 
building the walls of Thebes by the help of Mercury's harp, and the 
interpretation of that fable, together with the fictions" about Lycurgus 
king of Thrace^ ; from the second, as I recollect, the accoutrements 
of Polymites' ; and from the third, part of the tale of Isophile^. -He 
also characterises Boccacio for a talent, by which he is not now so ge- 
nerally known, for his poetry ; and styles him, " among poetes in Itaile 
stalled*." But Boccacio's Tubseid was yet in vogue. He says, that 
when CEdipus was married, none of the Muses were present, as they 
were at the wedding of Sapience with Eloquence, described by that 
poet tohilom so sage^ Matricia?i inamed de Capella, This is Marcianus 
Mineus Felix de Capella, who lived about the year 4<70, and whose 
Latin prosaico-inetrical work, de Nuptiis PkilologuB et Mercuriiy in 
two books, an introduction to his seven books, or system, of the Seven 
Sciences, I have mentioned before*: a writer highly extolled by Sco- 
tus Erigena'*, Peter of BloisS John of Salisbury, and other early authors 
in corrupt Latinity**; and of such eminent estimation in the dark cen- 
turies, as to be taught in the seminaries of philological education as a 
classic^ Among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum, a ma- 

1* See pag. 630. col. 1. fore heard it related in passing through 

* MSS. Bodl. N.B. F. 8. 6. Leland Deptford/' &c. pag. 568. col. 1. 

saw this Commentary in the library of the ^ Pag. 623. col. 2. 624. col. 1. 651. col. 1. 

Cistercian abbey of Buckfast-Lees in De- ' Pag. 634. col. 2. 

vonshire. Col. iii. p. 257. ^ Pag. 648. col. 1. seq. 

' Some say, Thomils Anglicus. * Pag. 651. coL 1. 

* Pag. 623. col. 2. 630. col. 1. 632. col. ' See supra, p. 166. 

2. 635. col. 2. 647. coL 2. 654. col. 1. ^ De Divis. Natur. lib. iii. p. 147. 148. 

659. col. 1. See supra, vol. i. p. 129. ° Epist 101. 

* First printed, Ulm, 1473. fol. « See Alcuin. De Sept. Artib. p. 1256. 
" Lydgate says, that this was the same Honorius Augustodunus, de Philosophia 

Lycurgus who came as an ally with Pala* Mundi^ lib. iL cap. 5. and the book of 

mon to Athens against his brother Arcite, Thomas Cantipratanus attributed to Boe- 

drawn by four white bulls, and crowned thius, De Discipliha Scholarium. Com- 

with a wreath of gold. Pag. 650. col. 2. pare Barth. ad Claudian. p. 32. 
See Kn. Tale, Urry's Ch. p. 17. v. 2131. • Barth. ad Briton, p. 110. " Medii 

seq. col. 1. Our author expressly refers sevi scholas tenuit, adolescentibus prae- 

to Chaucer's Knight's Tale about Theseus, lectus," &c. See Wilibaldus, Epist. 147.. 

and with some address, " As ye have be- tom. ii. Vet. Monum. Marten* p. 334. 


nuscript occurs, written about the eleventh century, which is a com- 
mentary on these nine books of Capella, compiled by Duncant an IrL^h 
bishop ^ and given to his scholars in the monastery of saint Remigius^. 
They were early translated into Latin leonine rhymes, and are often 
imitated by Saxo Grammaticus^. Gregory of Tours has the vanity to 
hope, that no readers will think his Latinity barbarous ; not even those 
who have refined their taste, and enriched their understanding with a 
complete knowledge of every species of literature, by studying atten- 
tively this treatise of Marcianus^ Alexander Necham, a learned abbot 
of Cirencester, and a voluminous Latin writer about the year 1210, 
wrote annotations on Marcianus, which are yet preserved''. He was 
first printed in the year 1499, and other editions appeared soon after- 
wards. This piece of Marcianus, dictated by the ideal philosophy of 
Plato, is supposed to have led the way to Boethius*s celebrated Con- 
solation OF PlirLOSOPHY". 

The marriage of Sapience and Eloquence, or Mercury and Philo- 
logy, as described by Marcianus, at which Clio and Calliope with all 
their sisters assisted, and from which Discord and Sedition, the great 
enemies of literature, were excluded, is artfully introduced, and beau- 
tifully contrasted with that of CEdipus and Jocasta, which was cele- 
brated by an assemblage bf the most hideous beings. 

Ne was there none of the Muses nine, — 

By one accorde to maken melody : 

For there sung not by heavenly harmony, 

Neyther Clio nor Caliope, 

None of the sistren in number thrise thre. 

As they did, when Philolaie" 

Ascended up highe above the skie. 

To be wedded, this lady virtuous. 

Unto her lord the god Mercurius. — 

But at this weddinge, plainly for to telle. 

Was Cerberus, chiefe porter of hell ; 

And Herebus, fader to Hatred, 

Was there present with his holle kindred, 

' Leland says he saw this work in the nard a Pez. Thesaur. Anecdot. torn, iil- 

library of Worcester abbey. Col.iii. p. 268. p. 620. But by some writers of the early 

^ MSS. Reg. 15. A. xxxiii. Liber olim ages he is censured as obscure. Galfredua 

S. Remig, Studio Gifardi scriptus. Labb. Canonicus, who flourished about 1170, 

Bibl. Nov. Manuscr. p. 60. In imitation declares, " Non pctimus nos, aut lascivht 

of the first part of this work, a French- cum SidoniOf aut vernare cum Hortensio, 

man, Jo. Borsus, wrote NuPTi-fi Juris- aut involvere cum Marciano.^* A pud Mar- 

CONSULTI ET PiiiLOLOGiiE, Paris. 1651. ten. ubi supra, torn. i. p. 506. He will 

4to. occur again. 

»» Stephan. in Prolegomen. c. xix. and ^ Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Digb. 221. andMn 

in ihe Notes, passim. He is adduced by other places. As did Scotus Erigena, 

Fulgentius. ' Labb.. Bibl. Nov. Manuscr. p. 45. and 

* Hist. Fr. lib. x. ad calc. A manu- others of that period, 
script of Marcianus, more than seven *" See Mahillon. I tin. Ital. p. 221. 

hundred yeats old, \n mentioned by Ber- " Piiilolooia. 


His WIFE also® with her browes blacke, 
And her daughters, sorow for to make, 
Hideously chered, and uglie for to see, 
Megera, and Thesiphonee, 
Alecto eke : with Labour, and Envie, 
Drede, Fraude, and false Tretcherie, 
Treson, Povert, Indigence, and Nede, 
And cruell Death in his rent wedeP : 
Wretchednesse, Complaint, and eke Rage, 
Fear full pale, Dronkenesse, croked Age : 
Cruell Mars, and many a tigre wood**, 
Brenning'' Ire, and unkinde Blood, 
Fraternall Hate depe sett in the roote, 
Sauf only death that there was no boote' : 
Assured otiies at fine untrew'. 
All these folkes were at weddyng new ; 
To make the town desolate and bare. 
As the story after shall declare." 

The bare conception of the attendance of this allegorical group on 
these incestuous espousals, is highly poetical : and although some of 
the personifications are not presented with the addition of any pictu- 
resque attributes, yet others are marked with the powerful pencil of 
Chaucer. . 

This poem is the Thebaid of a troubadour. The old classical tale 
of Thebes is here clothed with feudal manners, enlarged with new fic- 
tions of the Gothic species, and furnished with the descriptions, cir- 
cumstances, and machineries, appropriated to a romance of chivalry. 
The Sphinx is a terrible dragon, placed by a necromancer to guard a 
mountain, and to murther all travellers passing by.^ Tydeus being 
wounded sees a castle on a rock, whose high towers and crested pin- 
nacles of polished stone glitter by the light of the moon : he gains ad- 
mittance, is laid in a sumptuous bed of cloth of gold, and healed of his 
wounds by a king's daughter^. Tydeus and Polymite tilt at midnight 
for a lodging, before the gate of the palace of king Adrastus ; who is 
awakened with the din of the strokes of their weapons, which shake all 
the palace, and descends into the court with a long train by torch-light : 
he orders the two combatants to be disarmed, and clothed in rich 
mantles studded with pearls ; and they are conducted to repose by many 
a stair to a stately tower, after being served with a refection of hypo- 
eras from golden gobletsf The next day they are both spoused to the 
king's two daughters, and entertained with tournaments, feasting, revels, 

^ NioHT. P garment. ' " Oaths which proved false in the 

** the attendanU on Mars. end.'* 

' burning. " Pag. 629. col. I. 

■ " Death waa the only refuge, or re- ^ Pag. 627. col. 2. 

medy." * Pag. 640. col. 2. seq. 



and ma^uesJ Afterwards Tydeus having a message to deliver to 
Eteocles king of Thebes, enters the hall of the royal palace, com- 
pletely armed and on horseback, in the midst of a magnificent fes- 
tival*. This palace, like a Norman fortress, or feudal castle, is guarded 
with barbicans, portcullisses, chains, and fosses*. Adrastus wishes to 
close his old age in the repose of rural diversions, of hawking and 

The situation of Polymite, benighted in a solitary wilderness, is thus 
forcibly described : 

Holding his way, of hert^ nothing light, 

Mate^ and weary, till it drawelh to night : 

And al the day beholding envirown. 

He neither sawe ne castle, towre, ne town ; 

The which thing greveth him full sore. 

And sodenly the see began to rore. 

Winde and tempdst hidiously to arise, 

The rain down beten in ful grisly wise ; 

That many k beast thereof was adrad. 

And nigh for fere gan to waxe mad, 

As it seemed by the full wofull sownes 

Of tigres, beres, of bores, and of liounes ; 

Which to refute, and himself for to save, 

Evrich in haste draweth to his cave. 

But Polymitd in this tempest huge 

Alas the while findeth no refuge. 

Ne, him to shrowde, saw no where no succour, 

Till it was passed almost midnight hour.^ 

When (Edipus consults concerning his kindred the oracle of Apollo, 
whose image stood on a golden chariot with four wheels burned bright 
and sheeny animated with a fiend, the manner in which he receives his 
answer is touched with spirit and imagination : 

And when Edipus by great devotion 
Finbhed had fully his orison, 
The fiend anon, within invisible. 
With a voice dredefuU and horrible, 
Bade him in haste take his voyage 
Towrds Thebes, &c.« — — — 

In this poem, exclusive of that general one already mentioned, there 
are some curious mixtures of manners, and of classics and scripture. 

y Pag. 633. col. 1. seq. Concerning the * Pag. 644. coL 2. 

dreads, perhapi, in the maaques, we have ** Pag. 635. col. 1. 

this line, pag. 685, col. 2. • afraid ; fatigued. 

And the devwe of many a solein wede. J ^' ^}J' ^^\ ^• 

' • Pag. 626. col. 2. 

• Pag. 637. col. 2. 


The nativity of (Edipus at his birth is calculated by the most learned 
astronomers and physicians/ Eteocles defends the walls of Thebes 
with great ^guns^. And the priest^ Amphiorax, or Amphiaraus, is 
styled a bishops whose wife is also mentioned. At & council held at 
Thebes, concerning the right.of succession to the throne, Esdras and 
Solomon are cited : and the history of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls 
of Jerusalem is introduced^. The moral intended by this calamitoiis 
tale consists, in showing the pernicious effects of war ; the diabolical 
nature of which our author still further illustrates by observing, that 
discord received its origin in hell, and that the first battle ever fought 
was that of Lucifer and his legion of rebel angels.^ But that the ar-^ 
gument may have the fullest confirmation, St. Luke is then quoted 
to prove that avarice, ambition, and envy, are the primary sources of 
contention ; and that Christ came into the world to destroy these ma- 
lignant principles, and to propagate universal charity. 

At the close of the poem the mediation of the holy virgin is invoked, 
to procure peace in this life, and salvation in the next.* Yet it should 
be remembered that this piece is written by a monk, and addressed to 


Lydgates Tray-Boke, A paraphrase of Cohmms Hisioria Trcjana. 
Homer y when and hcyuo first hnoum in Europe, Lydgate's powers in 
rural painting. Dares and Dictys, Feudal manners^ and Arabian 
imagery engrafted on the Trojan stony. Anecdotes of ancient Gothic 
architecture displayed in the structure of Troy. An ideal theatre at 
Troy so described as to prove that no regular stage now existed. Game 
of chess invented at the siege of Troy. LydgcUes gallantry. His 
anachronisms. Hectors shrine and chantry. Specimens of another 
Troy-Bokcy anonymousy and written in the reign of Henry the Sixth. 

The third of Lydgate*s poems which I proposed to consider, is the 
Troy-boke, or the Destruct[on of Troy. It was first printed at 
the command of king Henry the Eighth, in the year 151S, by Richard 
Pinson, with this title, " The Hystory Sege and Destruccion of 
Troye. The table or rubrisshe of the content of the chapitres, &c. Here 
after fohweth the Troye-boke, otherwise called the Sege of Troye. 

' Pag. 625. col. 1. » Pag. 660. col. 1. 

■ Pag. 644. col. 2. Great and small, • [Pious invocations commonly con- 

and tome as large as tonnes. elude romances, as prayers for the king, 

* As in Chaucer. &c. did plays and songs, — Ashby.] 

*• * Pag. 645. col. 1. "* Lydgate was near fifty when this 

* Pag, 636. col. 1. poem was written, pag. 622. col. 2. 




[sect. XXII f. 

Translated by John Lydgate monhe of Bury, and empryntedai the 
eommaundement of our souveraygne lorde the kynge Henry the Eighthy 
by RichardePinson, &c.the yere of our lorde god a. m.ccccc. and xiii."* 
Another, and a much more correct edition foUo^ved, by Thomas Marshe, 
under the care of one John Braham, in the year 1555.® It was begun 
in the year 14* 14, the last year of the reign of king Henry the Fourth. 
It was written at that prince's command, and is dedicated to his suc- 
cessor. It was finished in the year 1420. In the Bodleian library 
there is a manuscript of this poem elegantly illuminated, with the pic- 
ture of a monk presenting a book to a king p. From the splendour of 
the decorations, it appears to be the copy which Lydgate gave to Henry - 
the Fifth. 

This poem is professedly a translation or paraphrase of Guido de 
Colonna's romance, entitled Historia Trojana^. But whether from 
Colonna's original Latin, or from a French version*^ mentioned in Lyd- 
gate s Prologue, and which existed soon after the year 1300, 1 cannot 
ascertain". I have before observed S that Colon n a formed his Trojan 
History from Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis^, who perpetually 

" Among other curious decorations in 
the title page, there are soldiers firing 
great guns at the city of Troy. Caxton, 
in his Recuyle of the Hystoryes of Troye, 
did not translate the account of the final 
destruction of the city from his French 
author Rauol le Feure, " for as muche as 
that worshipfuU and religious man Dan 
John Lydgate monke-of Burye did trcmt- 
late it but late^ after whose worke I feare 
to take upon me," &c At the end of 
B. ii. 

• With this title : — " The auncient hi- 
storlei and only true and syncere croni- 
cle, of the warres betwixte the Grecians 
and the Troyans, and subsequently of the 
fyrst evercyon of the auncient and fa- 
mouse cyte of Troye under Laomedon 
the king, and of the last and fynall de- 
structyon of the same under Pryam : wryt- 
ten by Daretus a Troyan and Dictus a 
Grecian, both souldiours and present at 
and in all the sayd warres, and digested 
in Latyn by the learned Guydo de Co- 
tumpnis, and sythes translated into £n- 
glyshe verse by John Lydgate moncke of 
Burye and newly imprinted." The colo- 
phon, "Imprinted at London in Flete- 
strete at the sygne of the Princes Armes 
by Thomas Marshe. Anno do. m.d.l.v." 
This book was modernised, and printed in 
five-lined stanzas, under the title, " The 
Life and Death of Hector, &c. written by 
John Lydgate monk of Berry, &c. At 
London, printed by Thomas Purfoot. 
Anno Dom, 161i." fol. But I suspect 
this to be a second edition. Princip. 
** In Thessalie king Peleus once did 

raigne." See Farmer's Essay, p. 8S. 40. 
edit. 1767. This spurious Troye-Boke is 
cited by FuUer, Winstanley, and others, 
as Lydgate's genuine work. 

[The above in 1614 might perhaps be 
a second edition of the Life and Death of 
Hector ; but I never heard, says Herbert 
[MS. note], of any prior edition in this 
stanza form. — Park.] 

^ MSS. Digb. 232. 

' Princip, ' ^ Licet cstidie Vetera reeen- 
tioribus obruantur." [Of the original La- 
tin, Panzer in his Annales Typographic! 
enunierates about nine editions in the 
fifteenth century. See Dibdin's ed. of 
Herbert, i. 11.— Park.] 

' Of a Spanish version, by Petro Nu- 
nez Degaldo, see Nic Anton. Bibl. Hispan. 
torn. ii. p. 179. [Guido's Latin can hardly 
mean any thing but the original Colonna's 
'Historia Trojana.^-AsHBT.] 

' See supra, vol. i. p. 131. Notes. Yet 
he says, having finished his version, B. v. 
Signat. £E. i. 

I have no more of Latin to translate, 
Afler Dytes, Dares, and Guydo. 

Again, he despidrs of translating Gnido's 
Latin elegantly. B. ii. c x. See also 
B. iii. Sign. R. iii. There was~a French 
translation of Dares printed, Cadom. 1573. 
See Works of the Learned. A. 1703. 
p. 222. 

* Supra, vol. i. p. 130, Note*. 

■ As Colonna's book is extremely scarce, 
and the subject interesting, I will translate 
a few lines from Colonna's Prologue and 
Postscript From the Prologue. *< These 


occur as authorities in Lydgate s translation. Homer is however re- 
ferred to in this work ; particularly in the catalogue, or enumeration, 
of the ships which brought the several Grecian leaders with their forces 
to the Trojan coast. It begins thus, on the testimony of Colonna^': 

Mynt auctor telleth how Agamamnon, 

The worth! kynge, an hundred shippis brought 

And is closed with these lines : 

Full many shippds was in this navye, 
More than Guido maketh rehersayle, 
Towards Troyd with Grek^s for to sayle : 
For as Homer in his discrypcion 
Of Grekes shipp^s maketh mencion, 
Shortly affyrminge the man was never borne 
That such a nombre of shippes sawe to fome.' 

In another place Homer, notwithstanding aU his rheioryke and su" 
pred eloquence, his lustt^ songes and dytees awete, is blamed as a preju- 
diced writer, who favours the Greeks y: a censure, which flowed from 
the favourite and prevailing notion held by the western nations of theit 
descent from the Trojans. Homer is also said to paint with colours 
of gold and azure*. A metaphor borrowed from the fashionable art 
of illumining. I do not however suppose, that Colonna, who flourished 
in the middle of the thirteenth century, had ever seen Homer^s poems : 
he might have known these and many other particulars, contained in 
the Iliad, from those factitious historians whom he professes to follow. 

things, originally written by the Grecian * From Diet. Cretens. lib. i. c. xvii. p. 

Dictys and the Phrygian Dares, (who were 17 seq. edit. Dacer. AmsteL 1702. 4to. 

present in the Trojan war, and faithful And Dar. Phryg. cap. xiv. p. 158. ibid, 

relators of what they saw,) are transfer- There is a very ancient edition of Dares 

red into this book by Guido, of Colonna, in quarto, without name or place. Of 

« judge. — And although a certain Roman, Dictys at Milan, 1477. 4to. Dares is in 

Cornelius by name, the nephew of the German, with cuts, by Marcus Tatius, 

great Sallustius, translated Dares and August. Vindel. 1536. fol. Dictys, by 

Dictys into Latin, yet, attempting to be John Herold, at Basil, 1554. Both in 

concise, he has very improperly omitted Russian, at Moscow, 1712. 8vo. 
those particulars of the history, which ' B. ii. c. zvi. 

would have proved most agreeable to the ' B. iv. c. zxxi. And in the Prologue, 

reader. In my own book therefore every Virgil is censured for following the traces 

article belonging to the Trojan story will ef Homeris ityUf in other respects a true 

be comprehended." And in his Postscript, writer. We have the same complaint in 

''And I Guido de C<»lonna have followed our author's Fall of Princis. See supr. 

the said Dictys in every particular ; for And in Chaucer's House of Fame, Colon- 

this rea*on, because Dictys made his work na is introduced, among other authors of 

perfect and complete in every thing. — the Trojan story, making this objection 

And I should have decorated this history to Homer's veracity. B. iii. p. 468* col. 

with more metaphors and ornaments of 1. v. 389. Urr. edit, 
.tyle and by incidental digression, which ^^ j^^ ^^^ 0^^^^ 

are the P«'«r« of composition. But d.- f^. 

terred by the difficulty of the work, &c. ^„j was to the Grek*, favorable, 

Guido has indeed made D.cty. nothing ^^^ ^^^ ^^ .^ ^^^ 

more than the ground-work of his story. 

All this is transIaLed in Lydgate*s Pro- * B. iv. c. xxxi. Signat. X. ii. ^ 


294 TROV-BOKB. [sect, XXIII. 

Yet it is not, in the mean time, impossible, that Lydgate might have 
seen the Diad, at least in a Latin traoRlation. Leontius Pilatus, already 
mentioned, one of the learned Constantinopolitan exiles, had translated 
the Iliad into Latin prose, with part of the Odyssey, at the desire of 
Boccacio % about the year 1360. This appears from Petrarch's Epistles 
to his friend Boccacio^ : in which, among other curious circumstances, 
the former requests Boccacio to send him to Venice tliat part of 
Leontius's new Latin version of the Odyssey, in which Ulysses's descent 
into hell, and the vestibule of Erebus, are described. He wishes also 
to see, how Homer, blind and an Asiatic, had described the lake of 
Avemo and the mountain of Circe. In another part of these letters, 
he acknowledges the receipt of the Latin Homer ; and mentions with 
how much satisfaction and joy the report of its arrival in the public li- 
brary at Venice was received, by all the Greek and Latin scholars of 
that city ^ The Iliad was also translated into French verse, by Jacques 
Milet, a licentiate of laws, about the year 1430^. Yet I cannot believe 
that Lydgate had ever consulted these translations, although he had 
travelled in France and Italy. One may venture to pronounce peremp- 
torily, that he did not understand, as he probably never had seen, the 
originaL After the migration of the Roman emperors to Greece, Boc- 
cacio was the first European that could read Homer ; nor was there 
perhaps a copy of either of Homer's poems existing in Europe, till 
about the time the Greeks were driven by the Turks from Constanti- 
nople ^ Long after Boccacio's time, the knowledge of the Greek 
tongue, and consequently of Homer, was confined only to a few scho- 
lars. Yet some ingenious French critics have insinuated, that Homer 
was familiar in France very early ; and that Christina of Pisa, in a poem 
never printed*, written in the year 1398, and entitled L'Epitre 
d'Othea a Hector ^ borrowed the word Othea, or Wisdom, from w 
dea in Homer, a formal appellation by which that poet often invocates 

This poem is replete with descriptions of rural beauty, formed by a 

• It is a slight error in Vigneul Mar- Theodorus archbishop of Canterbury in 
ville, that this translation was procured the seventli century brought from Rome 
by Petrarch, Mel. Lilt torn. i. p. 21. into England a manuscript of Homer, 
The very ingenious and accurate author which is now said to be in Bennet library 
of AfSmoires pour la Vie de Petrarque, is at Cambridge. See the Second Disserta- 
mistaken in saying that Hody supposes tion. In it is written with a modem hand, 
this version to have been made by Pe- Ilic liber quondam Theodori archiepi- 
trarch himself, lib. vi. torn. iii. p. 633. tcapi Cant, But probably this Theodore 
On the contrary, Hody has adjusted this is Thbodore Gaza, whose book, or 
matter with great perspicuity, and from whose transcript, it might have been, 
the best authorities. De Grsec. Illustr. Hody, ubi supr. lib. 1. cap. 8. p. 59.60. 
lib. i. c. 1. p. 2 seq. . * [It has been printed more than once. 

^ Senil. lib. iii. cap. 5. — M.J 

• Hody, ubi supr. p. 5. 6. 7. 9. The ' In the royaf manuscripts of the Bri- 
Latin Iliad in prose was published under tish Museum, this piece is entitled La 
the name of Laurentius Valla, with some Chevalrrie Spirituelle de ce monde, 

'ight alterations, in 1497. 17 E. iv. 2. 

' Mem. de Litt. xvii. p. 761. edit. 4to. e Mons. L'Abbe Sallier, Mem. Litt. 

See Boccat. Gcneal. Deor. xv. 6. 7. xvii. p. .518. 


selection of very poetical and picturesque circumstances, and clothed 
in the most perspicuous and musical numbers, The colouring of our 
poet s mornings is often remarkably rich and splendid. 

When that the rowes^ and the rayes redde 

Eastward to us full early ginnen spredde, 

Even at the twylyght in the dawneynge, 

Whan that the larke of custom ginneth syoge, 

For to salii^* in her heavenly laye^ 

The lusty goddesse of the morowe graye, 

I meane Aurora, which afore the sunne 

Is wont t' enchase^ the blacks sky^ dunne, 

And al the darknesse of the dlmmy night : 

And freshe Phebiis, with comforte of his light, 

And with the brightnes of his bem^ shene, 

Hath overgylt the hug^ hyll^ grene ; 

And flourds eke, agayn the morowe-tide, 

Upon their stalkes gan playn ^ their leav^ wide.™ 

Again, among more pictures of the same subject. 

When Auror^ the sylver droppes shene, 
Her teares, had shed upon the freshd grene; 
Complaynyng aye, in weping and in sorowe, 
Her chyldren's death on every sommer-morowe : 
That is to sayd, when the dewe so soote, 
Embawmed hath the floure and eke roote 
With lustie lycoQr in Aprill and in Maye : 
When that the larke, the messenger of daye. 
Of custom aye Aurora doth salde, 
With sundry notes her sorowe to "firansmue.** 

The spring is thus described, renewing the buds or blossoms of tha 
groves, and the flowers of the meadows. 

And them whom winter s blastes have shaken bare 
With sote blosomes freshly to repare ; 
And the meaddws of many a sundry hewe, 
Tapitid ben with divers floures newe 
Of sundry motlessP, lusty for to sene ; 
And holsome balm is shed among the grene. 

Frequently in these florid landscapes we find the same idea differently 
expressed. Yet this circumstance, while it weakened the description. 

^ streaks of light A very common 
word in Lydgate. Chaucer, Kn. T. v. 
597. col. 2. Urr. p. 455. 

And while the twilight and the rowU red 
Of Phcbus light. 

» salute. 

k chase. 

» open. 

•" B. 1. c. vi. 

■ change. 

• B. Hi. c. xxiiH. 

' colours. 


taught a copiousness of diction, and a variety of poetical phraseology. 
There is great softness and facility in the following delineation of a de- 
licious retreat. 

Tyll at the last, amonge the bow^ glade, 
Of adventure, I caught a plesaunt shade ; 
Ful smothe, and playn, and lusty for to sene, 
And softe as velvette was the yong^ grene : 
Where fix>in my hors I did alight as fast, 
And on a bowe aloft his reyn^ cast. 
So faynte and mate of werynesae I was, 
That I me layd adowne upon the gras, 
Upon a brincke, shortly for to telle, 
Besyde the river of a cristall welle ; 
And the watdr, as I rehersd can, 
Like quicke-sylver* in his streames yran, 
Of which the gravell and the bryght^ stone. 
As any golde, agaynst the sun yshone.^ 

The circumstance of the pebbles and gravel of a transparent stream 
glittering against the sun, which is uncommon, has much of the bril- 
liancy of the Italian poetry. It recalls to my memory a passage in 
Theocritus, which has been lately restored to its pristine beauty. 

'Evpoy aeavyaoy xpayay vvo Xiaeradi ircTp^, 
' XSari irevXriOviay axripaT^' ai 3' vireyepOey 
AaXXai KpvtrraWf ri^ apyvp^ LyhaXKoyTO 
Eic fivdov. 

They found a perpetual springy under a high rock, 
Filled with pure water : but underneath 
The pebbles sparkled as with crystal and silver 
From the bottom '. 

There is much elegance of sentiment and expression in the portrait 
of Creseide weeping when she parts with Troilus. 

And from her eyn the teare's round drops tryll. 
That al fordewed have her blacke wede ; 
And eke untrussd her haire abrode gan sprede, 
Lyke golden wyre, forrent and alto torn. — 
And over this, her freshe and rosey hewe, 
Whylom ymeynt* with whitd lylyes newe, 
Wyth wofuU wepyng pyteously disteynd ; 
And lyke the herbes in April all bereynd, 

* [Perhaps the poet only means to ex« was filled with quicksilver to give the ap- 

press quick motion : but Swinburn tells pearance of water.r—AsHBY.] 
us -that in a room of the Moorish palace *> B. ii. cap. xii. 

at Corduba, where water could not be had, ' AioffKOVp, Idyll, xxii. v. 37. 

there is a shallow cavity in the floor, which ' mingled. 


Or floures fresh^ with the dewes swete, 
Ryght so her chekds moystd were and wete.^ 

The following verses are worthy of attention in another style of wri- 
ting, and have great strength and spirit. A knight brings a steed to 
Hector in the midst of the battle. 

And brought to Hector. Sothly there he stoode 
Among the Grekes, al bathed in their bloode : 
The which in haste ful knightly he bestrode, 
And them amonge like Mars himselfe he rode.^ 

The strokes on the helmets are thus expressed, striking fire amid the 

But strokys felle, that men might herden rynge^ 
On bassenetts, the fieldds rounde aboute, 
So cruelly, that the fyrd sprange oute 
Amonge the tuflds brodd, bright and shene. 
Of foyle of golde, of fethers white and grene.'' 

The touches of feudal manners, which our author affords, are innu- 
merable : for the Trojan story, and with no great difficulty, is here en- 
tirely accommodated to the ideas of romance. Hardly any adventure 
of the champions of the round table was more chimerical and unmean- 
ing than this of our Grecian chief; and the cause of their expedition 
to Troy was quite in the spirit of chivalry, as it was occasioned by a 
lady. When Jason arrives at Colchos, he is entertained by king Oetes 
in a Gothic castle. Amadis or Lancelot were never conducted to their 
fairy chambers with more ceremony and solemnity. He is led through 
many a hall and many a tower, by a stair, to a sumptuous apartment, 
whose walls^ richly painted with the histories of ancient heroes, glittered 
with gold and azure. 

Through many a halle, and many a riche toure. 
By many a toume, and many divers waye. 
By many a gree* ymade of marbyll graye- — 
And in his chambre', englosed^ bright and cleare. 
That shone ful shene with gold and with asiire, 
Of many image that ther was in pictiire. 
He hath commaunded to his offycers. 
Only' in honodr of them that were straungers, 
Spyces and wyne.* 

^ B. iii. c. iXT. So again of Polyxena, ^ Painted ; or r. Eng1a«ed. Skelton's 

B. IT. c. xzx. Crowne of Lawrell, p. 24. edit. 1736. 

And aye she rentd with her fingers wher the postis wer embulioned with 

sniale saphir's indy blewe 

Her golden heyre upon her blacks wede. EngUued glitteringe, &c. 

^ B. iii. c xxii. * B. ii. c. xviii. , _ . « r- , e- . .. 

« Greec, degree, step, stair, gradus. ». i. c. v. See Colonna. SignaU b. 


The siege of Troy, the grand object of the poein, is uot conducted 
according to the classi^^al art of war. All the military machines, in- 
dented and used in the Crusades, are assembled to demolish the bul- 
warks of that city, with the addition of great guns* Among other im- 
plements of destruction borrowed from the holy war, the Greek fire, 
first discovered at Constantinople, with which the Saracens so greatly 
annoyed the Christian armies, b thrown from the walls of the be- 

Nor are we only presented in this piece with the habits of feudal 
life, and the practices of chivalry. The poem is enriched with a mul- 
titude of oriental fictions, and Arabian traditions. Medea gives to 
Jason, when he is going to combat the brazen bulls, and to lull the 
dragon who guarded the golden fieece asleep, a marvellous ring ; in 
which was a gem whose virtue could dtetroy the efficacy of poison, and 
render the wearer invisible. It was the same sort of precious stone, 
adds our author, which Virgil celebrates, and which Venus sent her son 
Eneas that he might enter Carthage unseen. Another of Medea's pre- 
sents to Jason, to assist him in this perilous achievement, is a silver 
image, or talisman, which defeated all the powers of incantation, and 
was framed according to principles of astronomy \ The hall of king 
Priam is illuminated at night by a prodigious carbuncle, placed among 
sapphires, rubies, and pearls, on the crown of a golden statue of Jupiter, 
fifteen cubits high<^. In the court of the palace, was a tree made by 
magic, whose trunk was twelve cubits high ; the branches, which over- 
shadowed distant plains, were alternately of solid gold and silver, blos- 
somed with gems of various hues, which were renewed every day*^. 
Most of these extravagancies, and a thousand more, are in Guido de 
Colonna, who lived when this mode of fabling was at his height. But^ 
in the fourth book. Dares Phrygius is particularly cited for a descrip- 
tion of Priam's palace, which seemed to be founded by fai^rie, or en- 
chantment ; and was paved with crystal, built of diamonds, sapphires, 
and emeralds, and supp<Med by ivory pillars, surmounted with golden 
images ^ This is not, however, in Dares. The warriors who came to 
the assistance of the Trojans, afford an ample field for invention. One 
of them belongs to a region of forests ; amid the gloom of which wander 
many monstrous beasts, not real, but appearances or illusive images, 
formed by the deceptions of necromancy, to terrify the traveller ». 
King Epistrophus brings from the land beyond the Amazons, a thousand 
knights ; among which is a terrible archer, half man and half beast, who 
neighs like a horse, whose eyes sparkle like a fnmace, and strike dead 
like lightning \ This is Shakspeare's dreadful sagittary *. The 

■ B. ii. c. xviii. See stipr. vol. i. p. ^ Ibid. f Cap. xxvi, 

161. In Caxton's Troy-Book, Hercules ■ B. ii. c. xviii. 

is said to make the Jire artificiall as weU '' So described by Colonna, Signat. n 

as Cacus, &c. ii. 21. i seq. 

»» B. ii. c. xviii. ^ B. ii. o, xi. « Ibid. And B. iii. c. xxiv. The Sa- 


Trojan horse, in the genuine spirit of Arabian philosophy, is formed of 
brass ^ ; of such immense size, as to contain a thousand soldiers. 

Colonna, I believe, gave the Trojan story its romantic additions. It 
had long before been falsified by Dictys and Dares; but those writers, 
misrepresenting or enlarging Homer, only invented plain and credible 
facts. They were the basis of Colonna ; who first filled the faint out- 
lines of their fabulous history with the colourings of eastern fancy, and 
adorned their scanty forgeries with the gorgeous trappings of Gothic 
chivalry. Or, as our author expresses himself in his Prologue, speak- 
ing of Colonna*s improvements on his originab. 

For he enluminetu, by crafte and cadence. 
This noble story with many a fresh£ coloure 
Of rhetorike, and many a ryche floure 
Of eloquence, to make it sound the bett.^ 

Clothed with these new inventions, this favourite tale descended to 
later times. Yet it appears, not only with these, but with an infinite 
variety of other embellishments, not fabricated by the fertile genius of 
Colonna, but adopted from French enlargements of Colonna, and in- 
corporated from romances on other subjects, in the French Recuyel 
OF Troy, written by a French ecclesiastic, Raoul le Fevre, about the 
year 14^4, and translated by Caxton.^ 

The description of the city of Troy, as newly built by king Priam, 
is extremely curious ; not for the capricious incredibilities and absurd 
inconsistencies which it exhibits™, but because it conveys anecdotes of 
ancient architecture, and especially of that floYid and improved species, 
which began to grow fashionable in Lydgate's age ; although much of 
this is in Colonna. He avoids to describe it geometrically, having 
never read Euclid. He says that Priam procured 

gittary is not in Dictys or Dares, in Something like this, I think, is in Amadis 

whom also, these warriors are but barely de Gaul. Robert Braham, in the Epistle 

named, and are much fewer in number. to the Reader, prefixed to the edition of 

See Dar. cap. xviii. p. 161. Diet. lib. 11. Lydgate's Troy-Book of 1555, is of opi- 

cap. XXXV. p. 51. The description of the nion, that the fables in the French Re- 

persons of Helen, and of the Trojan and cuyel ought to be ranked with the tri- 

Grecian heroes [B. ii. c. xv.] is from feling tales and barrayne leurdries of Ro- 

Dares through Colonna, Daret, Hist. c. xii. byn Hode and Bevyb of Hampton, and 

p. 156 seq. are not to be compared with the faythful 

1 In Dictys, " tabulatis extrmtur lig- and trewe reports of this history given by 

neis." lib. v. c. x. p. 113. In Gower he Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis. 

is also a hort of hrasse, Conf. Amant. " It is three days journey in length 

lib. i. fol. xiiiL a. col. 1. From Colonna, and breadth. The walls are two hundred 

Signat t. 4. Here also are Shakspeare's cubits high, of marble and alabaster, aud 

fabulous names of the gates of Troy. Sig- machiocolated. At every angle was a 

nat. d 4. seq. crown of gold, set with the richest gems. 

^ better. There were great guns in the towers. On 

^ As for instance, Hercules having kill- each turret were figures of savage and 

ed the eleven giants of Cremona, builds monstrous beasts in brass. The gates were 

over them a vast tower, on which he pla- of brass, and each has a portcullis. The 

ced eleven images of mettU, of the size houses were all imiform, and of marble, 

and figure of the giants. B. ii. c. 24. sixty cubits high. 


Eche carver, and curious joyner, 

To make knottes with many a queint floure 
To sette on crestes within and eke without. — 

That he sent for such as could " grave, groupe, or carve, were sotyll 
in their fantasye, good devysours, marveylous of castinge, who could 
raise a wall with batayling and crestes marciall, every imageour in en- 
tayle", and every portreyour who could paynt the w^ork with fresh 
hewes, who coidd pullish alabaster, and make an ymage." 

And yf I shulde rehersen by and by. 

The corvd knottes by craft of masonry ; 

The fresh embowing® with verges right as lynes, 

And the housyng full of bachewines, 

The ryche coynyng, the lusty tablem^nts, 

VinettesP running in casements. — 

Nor how they put, instedd of mortere, 

In the joyntoures, coper gilt ful clere; 

To make them joyne by levell and by lyne. 

Among the marbell freshly for to shyne 

Agaynst the sunne, whan that his shene light 

Smote on the golde that was burned bright 

The sides of every street were covered with freshe alures^ of marble, 
or cloisters, crowned with rich and lofty pinnacles, and fronted with 
tabernacular or open work', vaulted like the dormitory of a monaster}', 
and called deamdulatories, for the accommodation of the citizens in all 

And every house ycovered was with lead ; 

And many a gargoyle, and many a hideous head. 

With spoutes thorough, &c. — 

And again, of Priam's palace. 

And the walles, within and eke without, 
Endilong were with knottes graven clere, 
Depeynt with asure, golde, cinople, and grene. — 
And al the wyndowes and eche fenestrall 
Wrought were with beryll* and of clere crystall. 

With regard to the reality of the last circumstance, we are told, that 

" Intaglia. ** arching. the ladies standing " upe [upon] the alurs 

^ vignettes. of the castle," to see a tournament. See 

^ Allies, or covert-ways. Lat Alurcu supr. vol. i. p. 48. The word Aiwa is 

viz. " Alura qusB ducit a'coquinaconven- not in Dii Cange. 

tus, usque ad cameram prioris." Hearne's * Like the latticed stone-work, or can- 
Otterh. Prsef. Append, p. cxi. Where cellif of a Gothic shrine. 
Hearne derives it from Ala, a wing, or ' Said to have been invented by Mar- 
side. Rather from AUer^ whence A116c, chion of Arezzo. Walpole, Anccd. Paint. 
Fr. Alley, Robert of Gloucester mentions i. p. 111. 


in Studley castle in Shropshire*, the windows, so late as the reign of 
Elizabeth, were of beryl. 

The account of the Trojan theatre must not be omitted, as it displays 
the imperfect ideas of the stage, at least of diumatic exhibition, which 
now prevailed ; or rather, the absolute inexistence of this sort of spec- 
tacle. Our author supposes that comedies and tragedies were first re- 
presented at Troy^. He defines a comedy to begin with complaint and 
to end with gladnesse; expressing the actions of those Only who live in 
the lowest condition : but tragedy, he informs us, begins in prosperity, 
and ends in adversity ; showing the wonderful vicissitudes of fortune 
which have happened in the lives of kings and mighty conquerors. In 
the theatre of Troy, he adds, was a pulpit, in which stood a poet, who 
rehearsed the noble dedes thai toere historial of kynges, prynces, and 
worthy emperouTS ; and, above all, related those fatal and sudden ca- 
tastrophes, which they sometimes suffered by murder, poison, conspi- 
racy, or other secret and unforeseen machinations. 

And this was tolde and redde by the poete. 
And while that he in the pulpet stode 
With deadlye facd all devoyd of blode, 
Syngyuge his dites with tresses al to rent ; 
Aniydde the theatre, shrowded in a tent, 
There came out men, gastfull of their cheres, 
Disfygured their faces with vyseres. 
Playing by signes in the people's syght 
That the poete songe hathe on height" : 
So that there was no maner discourdaunce, 
Atween his ditees and their countenaunce. 
For lyke as he alofl^ dyd expresse 
Wordes of joy e or of hevinesse, — 
So craftely they^ could them" transfygure.* 

It is added, that these plays, or rytes of tragedyes oldy were acted 

* [Should we not read Sudeley Castle, ners, standards, penons, and for thefieldt 

near Winchcomb in Gloucestershire? See freshe and gaye obtourb. I do not pre- 

Leland's Itinerary, iv. fol. 170, where it cisely understand the last word. Perhaps 

is said that " part of the windowes of it it is a sort of ornamented armour for the 

were glazed with berall.*' This, however, legs. 

has been doubted by an intelligent friend All that follows on this subject is not 

in his account of Sudeley. See Monthly in Colonna. 
Mag. — Park.] " " That which the poet sung, standing 

^ Harrison's Descript Brit. Cap. xii. in the pulpit." 
p. 188. The occupations of the citizens ^ the actors. 

of Troy are mentioned. There were gold- ^ themselves. [Mr. Home Tooke que- 

sroiths, jewellers, embroiderers, weavers ried whether t?iem did not refer to words 

of woollen and linen, of cloth, of gold, in the line preceding. This observation 

damask, satin, velvet, sendeh or a thin seems to be made with his customary 

silk-like cypress, and double samyte, acuteness, which was so critically dis' 

or satin ; smiths, who forged poll-axes, played in the Diversions of Purley.— * 

spevs, and quarrel-headt, or cross-bow Park.] 

darts shaped square ; armourers, bow- * Lib. ii. cap. z. See also, B. ill. c. 

yers, fleichers, makers of trappings, ban- zzviii. 


at Troy, and in the theatre hahwed and yholde, when the months of 
April and May returned. 

In this detail of the dramatic exhibition which prevailed in the ideal 
theatre of Troy, a poet, placed on the stage in a pulpit, and character- 
istically habited, is said to have recited a series of tn^cal adventures; 
whose pathetic narrative was afterwards expressed by the dumb gesti- 
culations of a set of masqued actors. Some perhaps may be inclined 
to think that this imperfect species of theatric representation was the 
rude drama of Lydgate's age. But surely Lydgate would not have 
described at all, much less in a long and laboured digression, a public 
show, which from its nature was familiar and notorious. On the con- 
trary, he describes it as a thing obsolete, and existing only in remote 
times. Had a more perfect and legitimate stage now subsisted, he would 
not have deviated from his subject to communicate unnecessary inform- 
ation, and to deliver such minute definitions of tragedy and comedy. 
On the whole, this formal history of a theatre conveys nothing more 
than an affected display of Lydgate's learning ; and is collected, yet 
with apparent inaccuracy and confusion of circumstances, from what 
the ancient grammarians have left concerning the origin of the Greek 
tragedy. Or perhaps it might be borrowed by our author from some 
French paraphrastic version of Colonna*s Latin romance 7. 

Among the ancient authors, beside those already mentioned, cited in 
this poem, are Lollius for the history of Troy, Ovid for the tale of 
Medea and Jason, Ulysses and Polyphemus, the Myrmidons and other 
stories. Statins for Polynices and Eteocles, the venerable Bedc, Fulgen- 
tius the mythologist, Justinian, with whose institutes Colonna as a ci.^ 
vilian must have been well acquainted, Pliny, and Jacobus de Vitriaco. 
The last is produced to prove that Philometer, a famous philosopher, 
invented the game of chess, to divert a tyrant from his cruel purposes, 
in Chaldea ; and that from thence it was imported into Greece. But 
Colonna, or rather Lydgate, is of a different opinion ; and contends, in 
opposition to his authority, that this game, so sotyll and so marvtxylausy 
was discovered by prudent clerkes during the siege of Troy, and first 
practised in that city. Jacobus de Vitriaco was a canon regular at 
Paris, and, among other dignities in the church, bishop of Ptolemais 
in Palestine, about the year 1230. This tradition of the invention of 
chess is mentioned by Jacobus de Vitriaco in his Oriental akd Oc- 
cidental History". The anecdote of Philometer is, I think, in Egi- 
dius Romanus on this subject, above mentioned. Chaucer calls Athalus, 
that is Attains Philometer, the same person, and who is often mentioned 
in Pliny, the inventor of chess S 

I must not pass over an instance of Lydgate's gallantry, as it is the 
gallantry of a monk. Colonna takes all opportunities of satirising the 

^ Colonna calls him, ille fabulariub * in three books. 

SttlmonensUf — fabuhte commentans, &c. " Dremei p. 408. col. 2. edit. Urr. 

Si^at. b. 2. 


fair sex ; and L^dgate, with great politeness, declares himself absolutely 
unwilling to translate those passages of this severe moralist, which con- 
tain such unjust and illiberal misrepresentations of the female character. 
Instead of which, to obviate these injurious reflections, our translator 
enters upon a formal vindication of the ladies ; not by a panegyric on 
their beauty, nor encomiums on those amiable accomplishments, by 
which they refine our sensibilities, and give elegance to life ; but by a 
display of that religious fortitude with which some women have suffered 
martyrdom ; or of that inflexible chastity, by means of which others 
have been snatched up alive into heaven, in a state of genuine virginity. 
Among other striking examples which the calendar affords, he mentions 
the transcendent grace of the eleven thousand virgins who were mar- 
tyred at Cologne in Germany. In the mean time, female saints, as I 
suspect, in the barbarous ages were regarded with a greater degree of 
i*espect, on account of those exaggerated ideas of gallantry which 
chivalry inspired : and it is not improbable that the distinguished ho- 
nours paid to the virgin Mary might have partly proceeded from this 

Among the anachronistic improprieties which this poem contains, 
some of which have been pointed out, the most conspicuous is the fic- 
tion of Hector's sepulchre, or tomb ; which also merits our attention 
for another reason, as it affords us an opportunity of adding some other 
notices of the modes of ancient architecture to those already mentioned. 
The poet from Colonna supposes, that Hector was buried in the prin- 
cipal church of Troy, near the high altar, within a magnificent oratory, 
erected for that purpose, exactly resembling the Gothic shrines of our 
cathedrab, yet charged with many romantic decorations. 

With crafty archys raysyd wonder clene, 
Embowed over all the work to cure, 
So marveylous was the celature : 
That al the rofe, and closure envyrowne. 
Was of** fyne goldd plated up and downe, 
With knotty gravd wonder curyous 
Fret ful of stonys rich and precious, &c. 

The structure is supported by angels of gold. The steps are of cry- 
stal. Within, is not only an image of Hector in solid gold ; but his 
body embalmed, and exhibited to view with the resemblance of real 
life, by means of a precious liquor drculaiing through every part in 
golden tubes artificially disposed, and operating on the principles of 
vegetation*. This is from the chemistry of the times. Before the body . 

^ with. through golden tubes let into a mummy. 

* [I wonder nobody ever thought of Had he made hii body of crystal instead of 

proving that the circulation of the blood the iteps, with proper tubular passages, 

was known before Harvey, from this pas- we might fancy the blood circulated, as it 

sage. However, it seems difficult to con- is seen to do in a great length of glass tube 

cetve how this liquor was ieen to circulate artificially twisted.— Ash by.] 



were four inextinguishable lamps in golden sockets. To complete the 
work, Priam founds a regular chantry of priests, whom he accommo- 
dates with mansions near the church, and endows with revenues, to 
sing in this oratory for the soul of his son Hector^. 

In the Bodleian library, there is a prodigious folio manuscript on 
vellum, a translation of Colonna's 1'rojan History into verse^ ; which 
has been confounded with Lydgate*s Troye-Boke now before us. But 
it is an entirely different work, and is written in the short minstrel-metre. 
I have given a specimen of the Prologue above*. It appears to me to 
be Lydgate's Troye-Boke divested of the octave stanza, and reduced 
into a measure which might more commodiously be sung to the harp^ 

* B. iii. c. xxviii. Joseph of Exeter in 
hia Latin poem entitled Antiocheis, or the 
Crusade, has borrowed from this tomb of 
Hector, in his brilliant description of the 
mausoleum of Teuthras, lib. iv. 451. I 
have quoted the passage in the Second 

* MSS. Laud. K. 76. fol. 

* Supr. vol. i. p. 124. 

' It may, however, be thought, that this 
poem is rather a translation or imitation 
of some French original, as the writer 
oRen refers to Tfie Romance, If this be 
the case, it is not immediately formed from 
the Troye-boke of Lydgate, as I have sug^ 
gested in the text I believe it to be about 
Lydgate's age; but there is no other au- 
thority for supposing it to be written by 
Lydgate, than that, in the beginning of 
the Bodleian manuscript now before us, 
a hand- writing, of about the reign of Jatnes 
the First, assigns it to that poet. [In this 
prefix : " Dares a Trojan haralte and Di- 
ctas a Grecian haralt, wrat this booke 
in Greeke, and lefte it in Athenes, and 
tbeare it was founde by Guido de Colump- 
nis, a notary of Rome, and digested into 
Lattyn, and in anno 1414 translated into 
Englishe by John Lidgate munke of Bury. 
Vide fo. secunda." Of the latter asser- 
tion there appears no correspondent proof. 
— Park.] I will give a few lines from 
the poem itself; which begins with Jason's 
expedi^n to Colchos, the constant pre- 
lude to the Trojan story in all the writers 
of this school. 
In Colkos ile a cite was. 
That men called hanne Jaconitas ; 
Fair, and mekeP, large, and long, 
With walles huge and wondir strong, 
Ful of toures, and heye paleis. 
Off rich kny^tes, and burgeis: 
A kyng that tyme hete^ Eetes 
Oouerned than that lond in pes ', 
With his baronage, and his meyn£, 
Dwelleden thanne in that citd : 

For al aboute that riche toun 

Stode wodes, and parkis, enviroun, 

That were replenysched wonderful 

Of herte, and hyod, bore, and bul. 

And othir many savage bestis. 

Betwixt that wode and that forestis. 

Ther was large contray and playn, 

Faire wodes, and champayn 

Ful of semely-rennyng welles, 

As the ROMAUNCE the sothe^ telles, 

Withoute the cite that ther sprong. 

Ther was of briddes michel song, 

Thorow al the ^er^ and michel cry, 

Of al joyes gret melody. 

To that dU [of] Eetes 

3ode^ Jason and Hercules, 

And al the felawes that he hadde 

In clothe of golde as kynges he dadde, &c. 

Afterwards, the sorceress Medea,- the 
king's daughter, is thus characterised. 

Sche couthe the science of clergy, 
And mochel of nigramauncy.— 
Sche coude with conjurisouns, 
With here schleyght?, and oresouns. 
The day, that was most fair and lyght. 
Make as darke as any nyght : 
Sche couthe also, in selcouthe wise. 
Make the wynde both blowe and ri^e, 
And make him so loude blowe, 
As it schold howses overthrowe. 
Sche couth turne, verament, 
All weders^ and the firmament, &c. 

The reader, in some of these lines, ob- 
serves the appeal to The Romance for au- 
thority. This is common throughout the 
poem, as I have hinted. But at the close, 
the poet wishes eternal salvation to the 
soul of the author of the Ramaunce. 

And he that this romaunce '^noght and 

Lord in heven thow him glade. 

If this piece is translated from a French 

» great 

* year. 

> hight, named. * peace, 

• came. ' eleight, art 

* truth. 
" weathers. 


It is not likely thitt Lydgate ia its author; tliat he should either thus 
transform his own composition, or write a new piece on the subject. 
That it was a poem in some considerable estimation, appears from the 
size and sj^eadour of the manuscript; and this circumstance induces 
me to believe that it was at a very early period ascribed to Lydgate. 
On the other hand, it is extraordinary that the name of the writer of so 
prolix and laborious a work, respectable and conspicuous at least on 
account of its length, should have never transpired* The language 
accords with Lydgate s age, and is of the reign of Henry the Sixth ; 
and to the same age I refer the hand«writing, which is execute